How much land to grow your own wood?

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Rob_Red

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2021
307
Southern New England
another post about land got me thinking. How much land is required to harvest 3 cords a year sustainably with out degradation? Obviously there are a lot of factors like species and climate but what do you all think the approximate acreage is?

I’ve got 5 acres in the north east and am wondering if it could be done
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,556
NE Ohio
5 acres will very easily do 3 cords...the rule of thumb is that a well managed wood lot will give you 1 cord firewood per acre per year indefinitely.
 
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andym

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2020
438
Hicksville, Ohio
This something I've wondered about as well. What would be described as well managed? Does that mean simply cutting blow downs/dead trees? Does it allow for eventual timber harvest also or just indefinite firewood?
I've got around 5-6 acres of developing woods. It was a horse pasture approx 20 years ago. Very few trees larger than 12 dbh. Really not much timber potential at all for at least 30 years or more. Great deer hunting tho!
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,829
Central Mass
If it's mostly wooded you have plenty, even 3-4 acres is enough, you can cut all the dead and blow downs and thin out the rest to gather more firewood.
 

Nate R

Member
Nov 5, 2015
67
Wisconsin
I have just under 4 acres of red pine plantation, and it's about 65 years old now. I had it heavily thinned in 2017, which was not the first thinning... Got 101 cords out of it then, and took out over 1/3 of the trees at that time.
For the remaining ~650 trees or so, the math (according to the USFS) says I should be getting somewhere around 140 cubic feet of wood growth per year, per acre. (This varies on species, age, density of trees, how good the site is for growth, etc. There's tables that lay this out.)
Given 86 cubic feet of solid wood (ish) in a 128 SF cord, I'm growing right at 6 cords/year in 3.7 acres.

So, certainly not everyone's most favorite firewood, but I could sustain 3 cords a year easy for a long long time. There's at least 170 cords of wood standing, and adding 6/year.