Sanitatation Thinnings and Harvests

Q: What is a Sanitation Thinning?

The Silvicultural definition of a Sanitation Thinning is: 

The removal of non-dominant trees, trees affected by pests or disease and trees with defects such as forked profiles and bent trunks. The process helps to avoid soil erosion on the forest floor and reduce competition between the remaining trees. 

In commercial forestry, sanitation thinning’s are required to ensure the strongest trees continue to grow healthily, thereby yielding the highest value at harvest.


Q: What happens if a sanitation thinning is recommended and not undertaken?

If the carrying capacity of a plot of trees is near maximum (meaning the canopy is closing) and the trees are not thinned, their growth rate could be hindered, which could negatively affect any yields at harvest.

High humidity is created within the interior of the trees (due to lack of light) creating the ideal condition for the production of harmful fungi and bacteria, which could mean damage and loss of trees from diseases. If light does not enter, vegetation will not grow on the ground causing soil erosion leading to nutrient loss and the exposure of shallow roots.

In summary, the combined affects listed above create an unhealthy environment for trees thereby affecting their future value negatively.


Q: If trees are removed during a sanitation thinning, do they have any value?

This will depend on the amount of trees removed, their quality and size. If trees being removed do have a value, our forestry engineer’s will report this to a tree owner prior to any work commencing. Only when the tree owner authorises this work will the sanitation thinning commence and any return gained from the sale of the tees will be forwarded to the tree owner.


Q: What is a Harvest?

A harvest is the felling of trees, which are sold for commercial gain. We provide two types of harvest; 

1: The essential removal of trees to allow the strongest trees to continue growing. This is often referred to as a thinning harvest.

2: The final harvest where all of the remaining trees are harvested.