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Cords per Acre was "Will economic woes help or hurt the hearth industry?"

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mountaineer79, Nov 14, 2008.

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  1. mountaineer79

    mountaineer79 Member

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    In the "Will economic woes help or hurt the hearth industry?" thread, a couple people were talking about estimating firewood cords/acre:


    [quote author="kenny chaos" date="1226557969"][quote authorA very old rule of thumb, was two cords per acre of wood lot. The real issue is not as much about renewability as it is that Burning wood is carbon neutral.[/quote]
    Actually, the old rule one face cord per acre or three acres per cord.[/quote]


    I know that these are just generalizations, and there are a lot of factors other than amount of land that determine firewood content on a piece of property. My question is what is the time period (i.e. two cords per acre per year or ten years or what) for these estimates, and which of these estimates is the most accurate?

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  2. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    See I've always heard, 1 cord per acre.
  3. mountaineer79

    mountaineer79 Member

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    1 cord per acre per second/year/generation/millennium??????? . . . . .
  4. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    sorry
    one cord per acre per year.
    But that's for our woods up here, and works if you have mostly hardwoods.
  5. mountaineer79

    mountaineer79 Member

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    Thanks. I'm not really too concerned about it. I was just wondering.
  6. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Depends on where you are.

    You can't even compare state to state in New England for standing cords per acre because it depends too much on what are predominant species on those acres.


    If pine and maple grows back in 40 years and oak say 75, then a forest of pine and maple should have a higher volume harvest capacity.


    The harvest capacity in Maine will be considerably different than Connecticut.
    Apples and Oranges.

    Somewhere between 1 and 2 ?
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    We all know that the answer is "it depends". Some trees grow really quickly- but aren't always hardwood. Been to places with poor soil- locust might do OK there, but not much else. Probably in WV you have a longer growing season than I do and yours grows faster.

    Anyway- most estimates are "continuous harvest"- as in, how many cord can an acre produce and replenish in a year. This is maximized by proper management and/or clearcutting where you open up maximum light and reduce canopy. Leaving sprouting stumps gives a major head start to the next gen trees, if you trim back the scraggly starts and leave the strongest one.

    All that said- I've seen estimates in PA for 1 cord per acre, and in ME for 1/2 to 1/3 (rocky soil in New England). Planting specific fast growers or genetic cultivars may boost production dramatically- hybrid poplar is popular for this. Starting trees in a compost substrate or supplementing with compost/high organic matter fertilizer will likewise boost production if done properly.
  8. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    The rules of thumb have to be qualified. The long term yield of sustainable forest is generally a lot lower than a typical land owner would encounter, as unmanaged woodlands usually need to have a couple of "release" cuts to cut down low grade wood that impacts the potentially higher grade wood that could develop. During this phase of the woods life, the yield of the woods can be much higher. Depressingly if the landowner needs to pay someone to do this, its a money loser and the recomendation is to girdle the low grade trees in place and let them to rot and fall. Eventually, when the woods have turned into a well managed wood lot, the amount of sustainable biomass will drop to published levels.

    So find someone who has an unmanaged wood lot and offer them assistance in trimming the low grade stuff. Its good for them and good for your woodstove . Unfortunately knowing whats good and what needs to go is in the realm of a forester. If you dont know what you are doing, you can end up lowering the quality of the woods.
  9. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    peakbagger- I agree with your comments, but often the management is done for lumber rather than firewood. I'm not sure if the culling and management would be strictly the same or not.
  10. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Agreed, it just bugs the heck out of me when I see a forestry magazine talking about girdling trees and letting them rot as a management tool.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have actually done this on my own property, though I'm not managing strictly for firewood. I want a good balance and to restore some more rare native trees that were common at the time of settlement here. The standing dead "snags" are great wildlife habitat. I have also left a few good trees on the ground to rot- adding to the floor depth, carbon base, habitat, and I even use them strategically to protect seedlings that I plant myself.

    For the forestry people- I bet they are more worried about what someone might do in damage to their target trees in trying to remove non-targets (plus, as you hint- they don't have a need for that extra wood- so why go through the trouble of harvest?).
  12. glacialhills

    glacialhills Member

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    Not to mention all the exotic firewood makers around ie dutch elm disease...EAB and various wilts killing off many large trees that can add many extra cords to the equation. I have at least 25 cords of elm waiting either dead standing or fallen that throw a wrench in the 1-2 cord an acre rule.
  13. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    I've heard one cord per acres for a sustained, long term yield. But if you are in west Texas or the Aleutian Islands, it's probably less ;-)

    Ken
  14. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    x2

    1 cord per acre per year.
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