Shelterwood System

The shelterwood management system is used to regenerate tree species that are moderately tolerant of shade. The amount of light available to the regenerating trees is managed by a series of timely harvests at 10-20 year intervals that gradually remove the overstory. The first harvest leaves a partial cover of the best trees to provide seed and the necessary shade to obtain and develop regeneration. Once seedlings are established the overstory is further reduced and/or removed completely to allow the new forest to grow unimpeded.

By having the new forest in place before the canopy cover is removed, the forests under this management system maintain their aesthetic appeal and cover for wildlife. This is a useful system for regenerating species such as white pine, hemlock, red oak and yellow birch, This system can also be utilized in the management of some tolerant hardwood forests where quality and health issues are present. This management system creates a forest that is relatively even-aged as most of the regeneration is established within a short period of time.

Both the selection and shelterwood forest management systems enable natural regeneration to renew the forest although planting may be used to supplement natural regeneration.