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how many acres to support burning?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by DWW68, Dec 30, 2008.

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  1. DWW68

    DWW68 New Member

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    I know there are many factors from type of wood, area of country, how much you burn, and so on. I am from western NY and burn about 12 face cord a season. I was wondering how many acres of woods would support burning at this rate with out depleting the woods?
    I have heard that ten acres could do it.
    I currently have about 22 acres of woods. They are made up of Locus, Cherry, Ash, Elm, Maple, and Apple that I burn. Also has some Pine and Poplar that I do not burn. All of the wood that I retrieve is dead or blow downs so far. I do not think I will have problems of running out, just curious.

    What are some experienced cutter/burners opinions?

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  2. pastera

    pastera Feeling the Heat

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    From what I have read, about a third of a cord per acre for a sustainable production. This is after the initial thinning which can produce a large amount.

    My 3.5 acre lot has produced 2.5 cord of mostly dead wood just this year. I don't think it has been logged in about 30 years


    Aaron
  3. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    22 acres is plenty, specially if you do a little research and look at where a good place to harvest is, and do it and then plant some fast growing trees to replace that harvest.

    Guess I`m thinking of maybe a clearcut that will give you a 5 year wood supply. and then replanting that area with fast growing species. After that, just thin the remainder and take the blow downs for firewood.

    Even if you are only 25 years old? Should be enough to last for a lifetime.

    Think it thru, get a plan together, and you are at home base.
  4. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Rule of thumb = 1 cord (actual cord) per acre per year. Some places are a little better some a little worse. Encourage the locust. It grows much faster than other hardwoods.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    22 acres of wood you will never run out! The part of our woods that we cut is less than that and we simply can't keep up! A few years ago we even sold about 40 cords and we still have plenty and no worries about keeping up.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    thats enough!
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    It depends a lot on conditions- estimates start at some fraction of a cord to a couple cord per acre (real cord, not face cord). You are in good shape either way.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    There is a big difference between sustainable harvesting and only culling dead stuff. For sure, that many acres are sustianable and as for getting by on just culled dead stuff, that pretty much depends on how healthy the forest is and how prone it is to severe weather blow downs.
  9. DWW68

    DWW68 New Member

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    Thanks for all the comments. More are always welcome.
    As I thought, I did not think that I would run out. Just wondering how much forest was needed. The two figures 2/3rd to 1 full cord an acre are kind of what I was looking for. Thanks Again
  10. bigoak9745

    bigoak9745 New Member

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    I have 11 acres of mixed woods, beech, ash, maple,oak and popal. Which has kept me going for 25 years so far. I mainly cut that that dies, blows over etc. or some thinning where 5-6 maples grow in a cluster. The popals are getting big, and some are starting to die, so I go eat late in the winter and cut 3-6 down, for firewood. ALthough not the best wood it is good for daytime and to start fires with.

    22 acres should be plenty!
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Oldtimers around here (southern New England) used to figure 2 cords per acre using proper forestry methods. I am sure there are many variables though.
  12. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Some of these guys have obviously never been in the woods before. A well managed wood lot will avail 3/4 cord/yr..

    Think about what your saying guys: 1 to 2 cords per acre? Every year? That's funnier than the idea of climate change.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Even the most conservative Canadian studies use 1/2 cord per acre per year as a sustainable level and those numbers are for market timber. Firewood needs are far less stringent than sawmill of pulp/paper production so 1 cord per acre per year is not unreasonable. The state of NY has better growing conditions than most of Canada, with BC the exception.
  14. bobfeather

    bobfeather Member

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    i have lived in my house in a 23 acre bush for 30 years ( mixed hardwood )
    have only burnt wood for heat no other source & if you walked through the bush you would have a hard time telling that i had ever cut anything down that is basically only harvesting the stuff that naturally dies off / blows over only time i have ever cut a live tree is when i made a boo boo & got a dead one hung up went for a walk today & after the xmas wind storms we had i got a lot of work ahead of me now lotta down tree's
    bob
  15. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Seems to me that I read in a "Mother Earth News" about 25 years ago, that in order to have a lifetime supply of wood for heat, the minimum acreage was 10 - with proper wood management & using approved forestry techniques, you'll never run out...
    Back then I was burning 5 -7 cords a winter, while trying to heat a rented 1850's farmhouse with zero insulation - other than the wood siding on the outside & the plaster & lath inner walls - with a POS Ashley woodstove...
    It was essentially a trash can with a top & bottom...
    24 gauge snap-lock pipe to a stone chimney...
    NOTHING installed to code...Didn't know any better...
    Now, I own a tad more than 1/4 acre & my wood burning days are probably over & I am way too old to remember everything correctly...
    So forget I said anything...
    Happy New Year!
  16. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    DWW68 I couldn't give you an exact number of acres but...

    ... if you looking for sustaining tree harvesting on smaller acreage lots a state DEC official suggested this order of priority in cutting.

    First start with the dead trees, biggest trees, multi-trunked trees, junk trees like evasive species or trees ya don't want. He had valid reasons for that approach and explained why to proceed in that order.

    Now that was back in the '70 when DEC was full of biologists not revenue generating ticket writers. Since then I've been loyal to that approach and we have more and better trees today than when we got here and everything was overgrown and abandoned for 60 years.

    The smaller the acreage the more ruthless you have to be with those big trees... for too many reasons to list here. <----and I would be talking about those big trees in the woods...not the big shade tree in the front of your house.
  17. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for a great belly laugh! Yeah, what with your ruthlessness with those big trees, it's not surprising that those evasive species are going to hide when they hear you coming...

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Happy new year! Good post, actually. :lol:
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    LOL
    Ja, I saw the typo and had to sit on my hands to not comment.

    invasive - evasive
  19. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    BWAHAHAHA yeah I get...so the trees hear me coming and run LOL. Right invasive is what I should have said.
  20. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Clearly the actual production of any wood lot is determined by MANY variables, not the least of which is the length of the growing season in your area. Type of trees, rainfall, drainage/soil type, management style, etc.
  21. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Yes, many variables, most of which have already been mentioned. I'll add one more.

    The size of an acre varies - depending if the land is flat or a steep hill. Surveyed acres are measured from pure horizontal and vertical lines, regardless of the actual terrain.

    End result is - a surveyed acre of steep land is bigger then a surveyed acre of flat land.

    I'll also add, that there are indeed some well managed wood-lots with absolutely awful soil and weather conditions that will not yield more then a cord or two a year with sustained use.
  22. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

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    More than enough acres for your wood consumption, wish it were me. If you search the web you can find FIA data (USFS forest inventory analysis) for your area which would give you a good ballpark estimate on what your forest is growing per acre per year. From your forest type I would guess you have good (rich) soil and when you start cutting the poor formed small crown trees the remainder will increase growth rate substantially after being released. You can work towards growing some nice sawlogs, unless cordwood is all you ever want. I think whoever said 2 cds/acre per year is darn close to what you are growing per acre per year -in a lot of instances the old farmers were always damn close to what science teaches us today. Happy cutting!
  23. DWW68

    DWW68 New Member

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    "You can work towards growing some nice sawlogs, unless cordwood is all you ever want."

    That is my goal. Then I can just cut tops and use some of the proceeds to buy logs if needed.

    I did have a select cut done about four years ago. The logger gave me some pointers on how to maintain the woods.
    He said that if I needed the money he could sell some wood for me, but he said I would be much better off waiting another ten years and the trees would be worth a much better price.
    So I have been slowly cleaning up the woods. I think I will let a couple of friends come and get some wood for themselves, to let the clean up go a little faster.
  24. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    See if there is a forester on the Gov. payroll, state or county, to give you some tips. It is their job, and they are good at it. Could possibly save you a bundle in land taxes as well.
  25. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    They must do it different in your area than here in New York. If I want to qualify for a forestry tax break on my woodlots I have to do this. Pay a forester to create a management plan. Then, whenever he says my trees need to be cut, I must have it done -i.e. I have no say in the matter if I want the tax break. If it gets logged, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of those logs goes back to the government. No net savings that I can see. Just a loss of freedom on how to use my own property.
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