What is TSI, and why is it important?
Folks who want to care for their timberland or forest that accompanies rural land or farmland know: It takes hard work and perseverance to keep your land healthy and thriving. With so many options for improving the land, creating wildlife habitats, and ensuring the longevity of your trees for years to come, it’s no wonder that many landowners are turning to the experts for help.
Research shows that TSI, or Timber Stand Improvement ( also known as Forest Stand Improvement), is the most effective approach when it comes to stewardship of your timberland. By reducing the density of your forests, you achieve reforestation by opening up the canopy, rejuvenating the forest’s understory, and improving the health of existing trees. Techniques might include cutting or felling trees, hinge-cutting trees, and conducting ground-level projects such as prescribed fire to promote native vegetation growth.
The following video features Matt Dye and Adam Keith of Land & Legacy as they share the top three benefits of implementing Timber Stand Improvement on your property. Nationwide, TSI or FSI is grossly underused, leading to non-productive timberland, increased risk of damaging wildfire, and limited natural resources that would otherwise provide habitat, food, and cover for wildlife and areas for native plant species to grow and thrive.
Reason #1 for TSI on Wooded Land: Benefits to Wildlife
Felling trees and reducing forest density have numerous benefits for wildlife. Whitetail Deer, for example, thrive when brush and shrubs provide ample cover and safety. Open canopies mean that smaller plants can flourish, growing native forage and bedding and nesting locations for small animals, birds, and deer.
In the video below, Matt and Adam point out the numerous whitetail deer rubs that can be seen on a property that underwent TSI in 2017, showing the deer population continues to thrive in well-managed forest property.
Reason #2 for TSI on Wooded Land: Rejuvenate the Understory
Reducing the forest canopy means that more light can get to the forest floor. This not only improves the health of young vegetation and smaller plant species but creates space for newly sprouting trees that never had a chance to grow within the thick, dense forest. Matt and Adam share that they have even seen rare native plant species emerge due to more light and space in the understory.
Reason #3 for TSI on Wooded Land: Improve the Health of Existing Timber
When timber is harvested or cleared, landowners have an opportunity to leverage TSI to improve the health of the trees that are left. Practicing responsible forestry means culling weak or damaged trees to prevent wildfire and open the forest understory. Controlled burns can be a supporting component of TSI that work to reduce the number of damaged trees that may fuel wildfires.
With a more open understory and healthier soil filled with nutrients, stronger, healthier trees can then emerge and thrive, increasing the quality and productivity of your timberland for years to come.
Timber Stand Improvement might seem like a challenge at first, especially for timberland owners who enjoy the aesthetic of dense, thick forests. But Adam and Matt agree: Maintaining the health and structure of your forest property is well worth the first phases of TSI, where your forest might look a little more like a wasteland than the rich habitat it will soon become.
The benefits to wildlife, safety, and timber production well outweigh the temporary visual effects of hinge-cutting, felling trees, and implementing prescribed burns as part of a comprehensive TSI plan.
Matt and Adam encourage wilderness landowners to take the first step and research the best practices for Timber Stand Improvements in their area. Watch this episode of LANDBEAT to visit a site reaping the benefits of TSI and see the benefits of maintaining these efforts.
The Land & Legacy team also suggests working with your local forester or land management company, who will look out for your best interests – and the interest of the well-being of your land – to maximize the highest price for your timber and help you properly manage your timberland property and ensure its productivity and benefit to wildlife and the land for future generations.
Watch Land Beat to learn the top three benefits of implementing Timber Stand Improvement on your woodland property.
For more videos on prescribed burns, improving wildlife habitats, and buying and selling timberland across the United States, check out the Whitetail Properties YouTube Series, LANDBEAT.
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