- August 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm #43971Ethan TapperParticipant
I’m wondering if anybody has run into any good markets for Beech and what it is being used for where you are. In NY/VT it is usually pulpwood, and foresters try to run it out of the forest for that reason to make room for sawtimber potential species. Historical forest patterns (based on old survey records) in this area put stocking in Vermont at about 70% beech, and I’m wondering if better developed markets could help us come closer to honoring those old forest composition patterns. Any ideas?August 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm #74604Tim HarriganParticipant
Not sure exactly, there are only 3 sales reported for MI for Jan-June 2012 with average stumpage of $175/mbf. Right now in MI we are getting hammered by the Emerald Ash Borer, Beech Bark Disease is marching across the state and we are wadding up our shorts worrying about the Asian Longhorn Beetle and what that might mean for our Maple trees. Historic diversity levels don’t account for the invasives, and I really think the best strategy is botanical diversity. The EAB is now widespread, and even though the intensity is low in many areas I think the best long-term strategy in most cases should be to begin harvesting big timber and reduce the basal area to less than 20% of the stand. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.August 6, 2012 at 12:10 am #74603Carl RussellModerator
@Ethan Tapper 36099 wrote:
….. and foresters try to run it out of the forest for that reason to make room for sawtimber potential species. ….
Not this forester.
I leave a lot of beech. As you say it is a major historical component of the northern forest, so trying to eliminate it makes no ecological sense.
Because markets have become so large, requiring regional supply, species such as beech, that have had so much impact from disease, are low on the market radar. Rutland plywood used to buy beech logs if they don’t still. Not huge money, but better than pulp, at least at my scale.
I feel that managing the forest is about more than marketable species. Trees in the forest contribute to density and provide other resources to the ecosystem than just sawlog potential. Foresters who lose sight of this are mismanaging our future resources.
CarlAugust 7, 2012 at 2:39 am #74606PhilGParticipant
i have resawn beech from old barn tear downs, it made nice cabinet doors, i am always surprised how picky people can be about what woods they will and wont use for building products – and then stain the crap out of it so you don’t know what the wood is anyway, i’m limited to pine, spruce, or fir here, (some aspen and cotton wood, but hard to dry stable ), is fresh cut beech hard to saw or dry or resaw ? why isnt it desired more ?August 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #74605Tim HarriganParticipant
Ethan, you raise an interesting question regarding how to think about timber extraction in the current reality of invasive species and climate change. Ecosystems do not exist at a happy equilibrium indefinitely, they react to shocks and insults and are self-organizing but dynamic in the long-term. In woodlands, the time-scale makes that a challenge to understand and interpret because things like species diversity are measured over decades and centuries. So as a forester, how do you reconcile the historical diversity with the potential for destruction from Birch Bark Disease for instance, or as I have mentioned earlier, Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Long-Horn Beetle or the other pests that may have major impacts?
These are natural systems that self-organize in response to complex systems that we can’t begin to fully understand and the chance of being wrong in the long-term are pretty good. On the other hand you can’t just stare glassy-eyed and technically mute. It seems to me that foresters would want to frame decisions in the context of there best guess of what the reality will be a few decades ahead, as well as today’s situation. My sense is that there is resilience in botanical diversity. So I think there is a certain wisdom in understanding the historical forest pattern, but when I think of what our situation would be if our woodlands in MI were 70% Ash trees….whoa!
I do not know enough about the situation in Colorado to make any sort of intelligent comment, but it seems like greater species diversity would have been desirable. Could better choices have been made two or three generations ago? Are there lessons there that apply to eastern hardwood forests?August 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm #74607BaystatetomParticipant
I think beech isn’t used much for two reasons first its grain looks kind of plain compared to some other hardwoods and secondly it is so dam hard it can give woodworkers trouble. My grandfather put a beech floor in his house, I thought it looked nice, although he said it took forever as each nail hole had to be drilled out because the boards kept splitting.
As far as forestry goes, most forestry is driven by markets, period end of story. If markets were found making beech more financially valuable then more foresters would pay attention to its management. Things do change, I have heard of old timers girdling veneer quality cherry out of spruce/fir stands. In recent memory sugar maple has increased in price many times fold while ash went from $600/mbf down $100 and stayed there for 20 years. I would never try and eliminate beech from the forest, but if the landowner wants to manage timber for its monetary value then I might chose another species as a seed source or growing stock.
~TomApril 21, 2014 at 7:54 pm #83132leehorseloggerParticipant
seven by nine railroad ties……550 a thousandFebruary 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm #87798vtloggerParticipant
I know this is an old post.. but when ever i did a job with marked beech it always seemed it went to firewood, the forester always had someone that would take it, and if i could i would buy some for heat…
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