Keywords: sustainable forestry, silviculture, forest management; Grade Level: ninth and tenth grade (high school); Total Time for Lesson: 43 minutes; Setting: classroom

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Thinning from above: Harvest of trees by diameter until the stand of timber is about 30 percent stocked or about 30 percent of the stand is left.
  • Thinning from below: Harvest of smaller trees in increasingly larger diameters until 60 percent of the stand is left for growth.
  • Shelterwood cut: Harvest both small and some large trees leaving larger trees to act as seed trees; favors trees that require less than full sun light. Reevaluation and second cut practices.
  • Improvement thinning: Designed by a professional forester to provide income, habitat, and protect all other resources by reducing to 60 percent according to size, species, and spacing.
  • Silvicultural clearcut: The removal of all trees in one cutting.
  • Seedtree: Similar to a shelterwood cut but leaves fewer trees and depends on the trees to reestablish themselves by seed dispersal.
  • Wildlife considerations.
  • Forest regeneration.
  • Resource protection.
  • Timber value.

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will gain an understanding that the forest is a renewable resource that is to be conserved and utilized.
  • Students will learn the different management techniques that are currently being employed.
  • Student will discover how the forest impacts their everyday life.


"We will look at forest management techniques and how those techniques affect our daily lives."


  1. The students should be separated into groups that will discuss the various timber management techniques.
  2. The students will compile a list of pros and cons for each management techniques.
  3. Assign the students 1,200 imaginary acres of forested land that will be harvested in the next year. The students should develop a brief management plan based on the following:
    • Cutting practice
    • Regeneration
    • Timber value
    • Habitat
    • Resource protection

Step 3 of the activity may be carried over to the next session or completed as a homework assignment for the next class session.


Throughout the lesson and activity evaluate all student questions. Step 3 of the activity is the evaluation for this lesson.


"That is the end of today's lesson. I hope that the information presented was of value and opened your minds to realize how important forest management is to providing a renewable resource."


The Pennsylvania State University (1996). Forest Stewardship Demonstration Trail Guide: Stone Valley Experimental Forest . University Park, Pa.

Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry

Society of American Foresters


John P. McMahon, Moshannon Valley School District