Clearcutting as a Silvicultural Practice


Address societal concerns about clearcutting as a forest management practice and solidify the scientific foundation for clearcutting as a legitimate and sustainable regeneration and restoration tool.


Clearcutting practices are most applicable to landowners practicing even-aged silviculture with commercial species but should be available appropriately to all landowner groups across all forest types.


The Society of American Foresters supports the use of clearcutting as a proven regeneration method to meet multiple forest management objectives associated with efficient utilization of commercial timber resources and prompt reforestation.  Clearcutting is a particularly effective tool to regenerate shade-intolerant tree species, control spread of forest insects and pathogens, improve the timber productivity of managed even-aged forests, and provide early-seral forest wildlife habitat. Oversight by professional foresters and other natural resource specialists and adherence to contemporary forest management standards (laws and Best Management Practices) ensure that clearcutting is applied in a manner that addresses ecological, economic, and social dynamics of sustainability. 

Clearcutting is not appropriate in all forest types, nor will it accomplish the desired forest management objectives for all forest owners. SAF does not endorse exclusive use of any specific silvicultural system; however, where suitable to forest types, site conditions, and forest owner objectives, and where applied carefully by skilled professionals, clearcutting is an effective silvicultural practice that can achieve a variety of forest management objectives.

Approved: April 2019

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