Selection System

The selection system is best suited for shade tolerant species (maple, beech) and in areas where a high degree of forest cover is beneficial to other forest values and uses. The selection system is the most widely used system in the Great Lake-St. Lawrence and Deciduous Forest Regions and produces a forest that has a wide range of age and size classes present in the forest. These uneven-aged forests will have young seedlings-saplings to large mature trees present in the woodlot.

Trees are commonly removed either as single individuals or in small groups, at relatively short time intervals (15-25 years) depending on site and forest conditions. The choice between single tree selection or group selection is contingent upon the objectives of the stand and the species present or desired in the forest. The periodic harvests create a forest containing trees of all sizes and ages. Stand stocking is normally maintained within an acceptable range (18 to 26 m2/hectare) to ensure optimum stand-tree growth and no more than one-third of the growing stock should be removed at one time. Trees of all ages are harvested including those that are defective, over mature and as well as trees that are directly competing with trees of greater potential value. Some poor quality trees should be retained in the stand to provide specific biological and ecological functions (snags, cavity — den trees etc). This improves the biodiversity and the overall health of the forest.

ln maple, beech and hemlock forest mixtures, most species present in these forest types will grow and reproduce in the shade of other trees. Regeneration develops naturally following a selection harvest and favours shade tolerant species. The small group openings or gaps in the forest canopy will favour the establishment and growth of mid-tolerant species such as basswood, yellow birch, black cherry, white ash and red oak. The width of the canopy gaps should be at least the height of the existing forest or slightly greater and strategically located.