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Thinning Practices in Southern Pines - With Pest Management Recommendations

T. Evan Nebeker – Respectively, professor, Department of Entomology,
John D. Hodges – Professor, Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS,
Bob K. Karr – Assistant professor, Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, and
David M. Moehring – Professor (deceased), Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Technical Bulletin 1703, December 1985.


Although the principal goal of thinning is improving the growth and value of stands, other benefits are obtained, such as hazard reduction for insect infestations, disease epidemics, and damages due to abiotic agents. The mechanics by which thinning reduces these hazards is not completely understood. However, observations indicate that it can result in positive and/or negative effects, depending on how, where, when, and why it is conducted. The presence of more than one kind of hazard (e.g., southern pine beetle and annosus root rot) in a particular area at a given time poses some problems in designing an optimum thinning strategy. Other factors that complicate the situation are the species, stage of stand development, anticipated direct damage to residual stems, site quality, growth rate, live crown ratio, equipment, machine operation, and ultimately the cost effectiveness of the operation. Soil compaction, soil improvement, water quality problems, wildlife habitat enhancement, weed problems, esthetics, and the like cannot be ignored if all aspects of thinning are to be taken into account.

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Last updated on Wednesday, July 03, 2002 at 02:43 PM
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