Private forest landowners own 85% of Ohio’s forestland. Because of this, these landowners control the future of Ohio’s forests and those forests’ contributions to not only the Ohio economy, but also wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreation.
The goal of this publication is to provide an alphabetical listing of terms which foresters, and others in the forest products industry, commonly use so you will be able to make better informed decisions about how to manage your forestland.
Types of Foresters
Consulting Forester. A self-employed forester who assists private landowners with forest management practices for a fee. The Ohio Society of American Foresters has a searchable database of Ohio consulting forester at osafdirectory.com.
Extension Forester. A forester who works for Ohio State University Extension. An Extension foresters’ primary responsibility is to provide nonformal education, including preparing materials for local and regional forestry educational activities.
Forest Ranger. A USDA Forest Service forester is in charge of part of a national forest called a district. Forest rangers supervise the management activities of their districts, including fire control, tree planting, recreational activities, thinning, and harvesting.
Forest Supervisor. A USDA Forest Service employee who coordinates all activities in a particular national forest.
Industrial Forester. A forester employed by a forest-products company who is on company-owned woodlands to produce forest products, work with private landowners to purchase forest products for the company, or both. Some industrial foresters work with individual landowners to give advice and help promote approved forest-management practices.
Procurement Forester. A forester who buys timber from landowners for use by his/her employer.
Professional Forester. A person who has graduated from an accredited four-year university forestry program.
State Service Forester. A forester employed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) providing assistance to landowners. Visit ohiodnr.gov and scroll down to “Meet Our Divisions” for a directory of ODNR service foresters.
Technical Service Provider (TSP). A TSP offers services to producers such as farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners on behalf of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Absentee Landowners. Landowners who do not live in the county or state where their land is located.
Acre. An area of land containing 43,560 ft2.
Ad Valorem Tax. Annual taxes assessed on the basis of land value.
Aesthetics. The visual appearance of a forest.
Afforestation. Establishing a new forest on a site which was not previously forested.
American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Supported by the American Forest Foundation. The ATFS encourages sound, sustainable forest management. Membership requires a written forest management plan and a third-party inspection by a trained tree-farm inspector. In Ohio, the ATFS Tree Farm program is coordinated by the Ohio Forestry Association, ohioforest.org.
Amortization. A method of recovering capital costs over a set period of time through deductions.
Artificial Regeneration. Establishing a new forest by planting tree seedlings or direct seeding.
Basal Area. The basal area of a tree is the cross-sectional area (in square feet) of the trunk at breast height (4.5 feet above the ground on the uphill side of the tree).
Basis, Adjusted. The original investment cost, plus capital additions, and minus capital recoveries.
Basis, Original. The original capital investment in property, such as land or timber. For purchases, the original basis is the purchase price plus acquisition costs. For inherited property, basis is the fair-market value of the property at the time of the property owner’s death or alternative evaluation date. For gifted property, the basis remains as the donor’s basis.
Basis, Timber. The original capital investment in timber, plus capital additions (reforestation costs not amortized, certain fertilizer and herbicide treatments, precommercial timber treatment, and capitalized carrying charges) minus capital recoveries (basis recovered through depletion or loss).
Best Management Practices (BMPs). Mandatory practices designated by a state to control non-point source pollution to streams or water bodies in order to meet environmental quality goals.
Biltmore Stick. A large ruler-type instrument used to measure diameter at breast height (DBH).
Board Foot. A unit of wood equaling 144 in3. This is used to measure and express the volume of the amount of wood in trees, sawlogs, veneer logs, or lumber. Usually expected as 1 in. x 12 in. x 12 in.
Bole. The main trunk or stem of a tree.
Bolt. Short logs or sections of a larger log usually less than 8 ft. long.
Breast Height. The location on the tree 4.5 ft. above ground level on the uphill side of the tree. See Diameter Breast Height (DBH).
Browse. To feed on or as if on tender shoots, twigs, and leaves of trees and shrubs
Call Before You Cut. A partnership between the Ohio DNR, Ohio State University Extension, and others to assist landowners with finding professional forestry assistance before harvesting is completed. A landowner need only call the following toll-free number (877) 424-8288 to obtain professional forestry assistance.
Cambium. A thin layer of cells between the inner bark and the outside layer of bark. The cambium is responsible for diameter growth to the inside and for bark growth to the outside.
Canopy. The layers of tree crowns in a forest.
Capital Expenses. Cost of capital improvements the owner makes to the property. Capital improvements have a long life and may be recovered when the property is sold or by depreciation over the useful life of the improvement.
Capital Gain (Long-Term). Gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset, which has been held for more than one year and contributed to taxable income.
Carbon Credit. A carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that provides the holder the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide or an equivalent of another greenhouse gas.
Chain. A unit of land measurement equal to 66 feet. Ten square chains is equal to 1 acre.
Clearcut. A harvesting and regeneration method that removes all the trees, regardless of their size, on an area. Clearcutting produces an even-aged forest stand.
Climax Forest. The final stage of plant succession, in which species composition remains relatively stable. The climax forest for most of Ohio would be oak-hickory or maple-beech-birch.
Codominant. Trees with medium-sized crowns forming the general level of the crown cover. They receive full light from above but are crowded on the sides.
Competition. Trees compete with each other and other plants for sunlight, water, and nutrients.
Cone. A seed-bearing organ on conifers. Ohio species with cones includes pines, spruces, firs, and hemlock.
Conifer. Trees of the pine family with needle-like or scale-like foliage and cone-like fruits. They are usually evergreen and often are called softwoods. See Softwoods.
Conservation. The management of natural resources now and in the future.
Coppice. A forest stand originating primarily from sprouts. Coppice is one method available for naturally regenerating forest stands.
Cord. A stack of round or split wood containing 128 cubic feet including wood, bark, and air space. Typically used as a measure of firewood or other low-value forest product.
Crop Tree. Any tree which meets a landowner’s objectives, could be for timber production or wildlife.
Crown. The branches and foliage in the top part of a tree.
Crown Class. The position of a tree crown within the canopy. Crown classes are dominate, co-dominate, intermediate, and suppressed.
Cruise. An inventory of timber on forestland describing its location and estimating its quantity by species, products, size, quality, or other characteristics. Several different sampling techniques can be used in a cruise.
Cull. A tree or log not suitable for timber harvest because of form, disease, insect infestation, or injury.
Cutting Cycle. The planned time interval between timber removals in the same stand, usually in all-aged or uneven-aged forest management. For example, a cutting cycle of 10 years in a hardwood stand means conducting harvesting and thinning every 10 years.
DBH. Abbreviation for tree diameter at breast height measured at 4.5 feet (DBH) above the ground.
Deciduous Tree. A tree that loses all its leaves at some time during the year, usually in the fall. Common deciduous trees in Ohio include maples, oak, ash, hickory, and beech, among others.
Deck, Log. An area used to stage harvested trees, logs, or other materials for transport out of the woods.
Defect. That portion of a tree or log that is not measured because it is unusable for the intended product. Defects include rot, crookedness, cavities, knots, and excessive number of limbs.
Delivered Price. Price paid to the logger at the mill for a load of wood.
Dendrology. The scientific study of trees and woody plants, including their identification, nomenclature, and classification.
Diameter Limit Cutting. A harvesting method whereby all merchantable trees larger than a specified diameter are harvested. This cutting method can be abused as a form of high grading and is not typically recommended for hardwood stands.
Dibble Bar. A shovel-like tool for hand-planting bare-rooted seedlings. Also called a planting bar. The bar is typically 6 inches in length is inserted in the soil, and pushed down until the full 6 inches is underground. You then either push the bar forward, or backward (not both), to create a Y shaped planting hole for the seedling.
Direct Seeding. A method of artificial regeneration whereby tree seeds are sown on the surface of a prepared site.
Dominant Tree. A tree with a crown that extends above the general level of the canopy and receives full light from above and partly from the side. A dominant tree is taller and larger than the average trees in the stand.
Doyle Log Rule. A formula estimating the board feet volume of a log. This rule has been proven to underestimate the volume of logs smaller than 25 inches in diameter. Doyle ¼ inch is the log rule most commonly used in Ohio.
Easement. An interest or right to a limited use of land granted by the owner to another party.
Ecology. A branch of biology that focuses on the relationships of organisms to each other in the environment.
Engineered Lumber (Wood). A fabricated wood product whereby pieces of wood are glued together under heat and pressure, to form a variety of products including oriented strand board, and plywood.
Entomology, Forest. The science that focuses on insects’ relationship with forests and forest products.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.
Erosion. The displacement of soil by water, wind, or other agents.
Even-Aged Forest. A forest comprised of trees that are categorized in three or fewer distinct age groups. An even-aged forest may be naturally or artificially regenerated.
Even-Aged Forest Management. Forest management with periodic harvesting of all trees in part of the forest at one time, or in several cuttings over a short time. This type of harvest produces stands containing trees that are all the same or nearly the same age.
Evergreen Tree. A tree that retains some or all of its leaves throughout the year, especially through the winter.
Firebreak/Fire Lane. A natural or manmade barrier to prevent the spread of fire.
Forest. A plant community dominated by trees and woody plants. From a forest management standpoint, a forest is a collection of stands administered as a unit.
Forest Certification. Forest certification is a mechanism for forest monitoring including the tracing and labeling of timber, wood, and pulp products, and tracing and labeling non-timber forest products, where the quality of forest management is judged against a series of acceptable standards.
Forestland. An area of land covered by trees.
Forest Management. Applying forestry principles and practices to meet the landowner’s goals.
Forest Management Plan. A written document that includes overall guidelines, plans, and recommended practices for current and future management to meet the owner’s objectives. A plan usually includes the owner’s name, legal description, and map of the forest.
Forest Type. Groups of tree species commonly found growing together due to any number of conditions including the soils, slope, and climate. Examples of forest types in Ohio include oak/hickory and maple/beech/birch.
Forestry. The science, art, and business of creating, managing, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values.
Genetically Improved Seedlings. Seedlings selectively bred for improved desired characteristics such as rapid growth or disease resistance.
Girdling. A cut or damage completely encircling the tree trunk, going through the bark and cambium, and penetrating the sapwood. Girdling usually kills the tree by stopping the flow of nutrients and water between the roots and crown.
Global Positioning System (GPS). A navigational system using satellite signals to determine the location of a receiver on or above the Earth’s surface.
Grading. Evaluating and sorting trees, logs, or lumber according by measures of quality.
Group Selection. See Selection Method.
Growing Stock. All live trees in a forest or stand.
Habitat. The place or environment where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives and grows.
Hardwood. A term describing broadleaf trees such as oaks, maples, ashes, or elms. The term hardwood refers to the anatomical structure of the wood, rather than a measure of hardness or softness of the wood.
Harvest. The mechanical or manual removal of trees from a forest.
Heartwood. Older xylem in the tree center that no longer conducts water in the tree. In some species the heartwood becomes discolored due to the presence of minerals and other substances.
Height, Merchantable. Refers to the height (length) of a usable tree trunk. The product being cut determines the merchantable height.
Height, Total. Tree height from ground level to the top of the crown.
Herbicides. A chemical agent used to destroy or inhibit plant growth.
High Grading. The practice of removing only the biggest and best trees from a stand during a harvest operation, leaving only culls and undesirable species to dominate the site.
Improvement Cut. A type of intermediate cut to improve the remaining stand. See TSI.
Increment Borer. A hollow-bit drill used to bore into the tree trunk to remove a wood core that shows the tree’s growth rings.
Intermediate Cut. These cuts remove individual trees and are designed to improve an existing forest stand, not to regenerate it as in a regeneration cut. See Thinning.
Intermediate Trees. Trees shorter than dominant and codominant trees but with crowns extending into the canopy.
Inventory. Measurement of volume in a forest stand. See Cruise.
Log. A piece of the woody stem (trunk or limb) of a tree between 8 and 16 feet long and at least 10 inches in diameter at the small end of the log.
Logger (Lumberjack). An individual whose occupation is harvesting timber. Loggers usually are in business for themselves and own their own equipment.
Logging. The movement of logs from the place where they are cut to a log deck or truck.
Log Scale. A measuring stick estimating the useable volume of a log. See Scale, Log.
Log Yard. An area used for the storage and preparation of logs immediately before their entry into a sawmill.
Lump-Sum Sale. See Sale, Lump-Sum.
Marking. See Timber Marking.
Mature Tree. A tree that has reached the desired size or age for its intended use. Size or age will vary depending on the species and intended use.
MBF. One thousand board feet; a volume measure for standing or sawn timber. “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000.
Mensuration. Branch of forestry dealing with determining the volume, form, age, and incremental growth of stands while alive or after harvesting.
Merchandising. The practice of selling and using timber for the highest value product possible.
Merchantable Timber. Trees which are of a sufficient size and value to be commercially harvested.
Merritt Hypsometer. A hypsometer is one of a number of tools used by foresters to measure tree heights. The Merritt Hyspometer is often combined with a Biltmore stick to estimate tree height in ½ logs (see Log) from a distance of 66 feet away from the tree.
Mineral Rights. The ownership rights to underground resources such as metals and ores, fossil fuels, or other mineable materials.
Mortality. The number or volume of growing stock trees in a stand or forest that are dying from natural causes during a certain period of time. This can be a measure of forest health.
Multiple Use. Land management for more than one purpose, including timber production, wildlife habitat, water quality or aesthetics, among others.
National Forests. Public lands administered and managed by the USDA Forest Service. The only national forest in Ohio is the Wayne National Forest headquartered in Nelsonville.
Net Growth. The net change in volume of timber for a certain area of land over a given time period. Net growth can be positive or negative.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB). Engineered wood product panels made from wood chips that are glued and pressed into sheets.
Overstory. The uppermost layer of crown cover from the mature trees on the site.
Pathology, Forest. The science that studies tree diseases.
Pesticides. Chemicals, including herbicides and insecticides, used to kill pests such as weeds, insects, or unwanted trees.
Phloem. Tissue of the inner bark that conducts carbohydrates from the crown down through the bole to the roots. See Bole.
Pioneer Species. Plants that establish themselves first following a disturbance. These plants require full sunlight for best growth, and often have lightweight seed that can be carried far by the wind. Examples of trees that are pioneer species in Ohio include cottonwood and yellow poplar.
Plantation. An artificially regenerated forest typically comprised one species. A Christmas tree farm is one example.
Plywood. An engineered wood product made with thin sheets of veneer that are glued together.
Pole Timber. Trees with diameters ranging from 5 to 10 inches.
Precommercial Thinning. Removal of trees too small for merchandising. See Thinning.
Prescribed Burn/Fire. The controlled use of fire to achieve forest management objectives.
Prescription, Stand. A document, usually written by a forester, prescribing present and future treatments for a forest stand to accomplish a landowners’ objectives.
Pruning. Removing live or dead branches from standing trees. With forest trees, pruning is generally done along the bole to produce a higher-quality, knot-free wood. See Bole.
Pulpwood. Timber harvested primarily for conversion into wood chips to manufacture paper, Oriented Strand Board (OSB), or other products. Pulpwood-size trees are usually a minimum of 4 inches diameter at breast height (DBH).
Reforestation. Reestablishing a forest from seed or by planting seedlings following removal of the previous forest.
Regeneration. A stand of young tree seedlings. See Reproduction.
Regeneration Cut. A cutting operation to remove the mature trees and leave environmental conditions favorable for establishment of tree reproduction either naturally or artificially.
Release Cutting. An intermediate treatment designed to free young trees from undesirable, usually overtopping, competing vegetation by removing the unwanted vegetation.
Remote Sensing. A means of acquiring information using air- or space-borne equipment and techniques to determine the characteristics of an area. Aerial photographs and digital satellite imagery are common examples of remote sensing data.
Reproduction. The process of forest replacement or renewal. This may be done either artificially by planting seedlings or sowing seed, or naturally through seed fall or sprouting.
Right-of-Way. The legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another.
Roots. The part of the tree that absorbs nutrients and water, anchors it in the soil, and stores starch reserves.
Rotation. The number of years required to establish and grow an even-aged stand of trees to a specified size, product, or condition of maturity.
Roundwood. Timber products that are round, such as firewood, logs, pilings, posts, and pulpwood.
Sale, Lump-Sum. The sale of timber where an upfront cash price is paid to the landowner prior to harvesting.
Sale, Sell-on-Shares. This is defining sale by unit—usually by tonnage or by cord. Selling on shares provides a percentage of the money that would be received by selling the total amount of the product being sold. Normally not encouraged because it may disqualify the seller from capital gains treatment and may increase their exposure to liability.
Salvage Cut. Harvesting dead trees or those in danger of being killed (by insect, disease, flooding, etc.) to save their economic value.
Sampling. The process by which foresters collect data in a forest.
Sanitation Cut. Harvesting or killing trees infected or highly susceptible to insects or diseases to protect the rest of the forest stand.
Sapling. A small tree usually between 1 and 4 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH).
Sapwood. The younger, usually lighter colored, and physiologically active portion of wood that lies between the cambium and heartwood.
Sawlog. A log large enough to be cut into lumber.
Sawtimber. A tree large enough to be sawn into lumber. See Sawlog.
Scale, Log. a system of measuring the volume of a log before it is cut into lumber or other products.
Scale Stick. A flat stick, similar to a yardstick used to determine volume of cut logs.
Scale, Weight. The measurement of wood usually in tons, instead of by volume, such as cords or MBF (MBF=1,000 board feet).
Second Growth. Forests that reproduce naturally after removal of the original forest by cutting, fire, or other cause. The vast majority of Ohio forests are second-, or third- growth forests.
Section. A unit of land containing 640 acres. This is equivalent to one square mile or 16 forty-acre sections.
Seed Tree Method. A natural regeneration technique in which most of a mature stand of trees is harvested, but a few scattered high-quality trees are left to provide seed to establish a new forest stand. Once regeneration is established, the seed trees are harvested. This approach produces an even-aged stand.
Selection Method. Harvesting individual trees or small groups of trees at periodic intervals based on their physical condition or degree of maturity. This produces an uneven-aged stand.
Shade Tolerance. A tree’s capacity to develop and grow in the shade, and in competition with other trees.
Shelterwood Harvest. A method of natural regeneration whereby mature timber is harvested, but nearly half the trees are retained to provide seed for the next forest stand. This technique may involve two or more cuttings to produce high-quality, seed-bearing trees. This method produces an even-aged forest.
Shrub. A low-growing perennial plant with a woody stem.
Silviculture. The art and science of tending trees and growing a forest to meet a landowner’s objectives.
Site Index. A measure of forest-site-quality based on the height in feet of the dominant trees at a specified age.
Site Preparation. Preparing an area of land for planting, direct seeding, or natural reproduction by using prescribed fire, herbicides, or mechanical methods.
Skidding. Moving logs from the stump to another location on site.
Slash. Tree tops, branches, bark, or other residue left on the ground following forest operations.
Softwood. A tree, usually evergreen, cone bearing, and with needles or scalelike leaves such as pines, spruces, firs, and cedars. Softwood refers to the anatomic structure of the wood and is not a reference to the hardness or softness of the wood.
Soil. The surface geology that has been weathered and transformed over eons by the interactions of climate, organisms, and topography (see Topography).
Soil pH. The concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil, measured on a logarithmic scale. Neutral soil pH is 7. Lower values are acidic, and higher values are alkaline. Soil pH is important when determining the chemical nature of plant nutrients in the soil and their relative availability for plant absorption.
Soil Texture. The composition of mineral soil based on the proportion of sand, silt, and clay particles. Soil texture can be determined in the lab or in the field by the feel of soil when rubbed between the fingers. Sand particles feel gritty, silt feels smooth like flour, and clay feels sticky.
Species. A group of individuals with common attributes and designated by a common name.
Sprout. A tree growing from the base, stump, or root of a tree.
Stand, Timber. A group of trees set apart from others based on species composition, age, structure, quality, or geography.
Stocking. The number of trees in a forest stand. Often, stocking is compared to the desirable number of trees for best growth and management, such as partially stocked, well stocked, or overstocked.
Stumpage. The price paid to the landowner for their timber.
Succession. The replacement of one plant community by another until ecological stability, or climax conditions, are achieved. See Climax Forest.
Suppressed. These trees have crowns entirely below the general level of the canopy and receive no direct light from above or the sides.
Sustainable Forestry. Practice of forest management, harvest of products, and reforestation with conservation of soil, air, water, wildlife, and aesthetics for current and future generations.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). A thorough system of principles, objectives, performance measures, and inspections that assures the practice of sustainable forestry on privately owned land. SFI is supported by the American Forest and Paper Association and its member companies. SFI also recognizes certified tree farms in the American Tree Farm System as practicing sustainable forestry.
Sustained Yield. Management of forestland to produce a relatively constant amount of timber or revenue where removals do not exceed volume growth.
Tally. Tally usually refers to the recording of certain tree measurements such as height, diameter, or number of trees collected during a timber cruise.
Thinning. Generally, a cutting in an immature stand to reduce the number of trees per acre. Thinning is done for many reasons, including generating revenue, improving timber quality and health, accelerating growth, preventing bark beetle attack, and enhancing wildlife habitat. It is a timber stand improvement (TSI) activity.
Timber. Trees actively growing or their wood.
Timber Harvesting Contract. A written, legally binding document developed by a forester, preferably, representing the landowner for the sale of standing timber. The contract specifies various provisions covering the expectations and desires of both the buyer and seller. A cutting contract may be more common as a direct agreement between the timber buyer and landowner.
Timber Market. The economic interactions of demand and supply setting the price for timber.
Timber Marketing. Activities, such as inventory and advertising sent to potential buyers, aimed at getting a satisfactory price for timber.
Timber Marking. Using paint, flagging, or other means to designate trees to be cut or not cut.
Timber Sale. Any harvest of wood products involving the exchange of money.
Timber Stand Improvement (TSI). Any number of forest management practices which improve the overall condition of the stand for the landowner’s objectives. Such practices can include timber harvesting, removal of dead or dying trees, etc.
Topography. Topography usually refers to the elevation, aspect, slope, and configuration of the surface of the area.
Tract. A parcel of land considered separately from adjoining land because of differences in ownership, timber type, management objective, or other characteristics.
Tree. A long-lived, woody plant that has a single, usually tall main stem with few or no branches on its lower part.
Tree Farm. An area of forestland managed to ensure a continuous commercial supply of wood. Privately owned forestland may become a certified Tree Farm by the American Tree Farm System, which is part of the American Forest Foundation. The tree farm program in Ohio is administered by the Ohio Forestry Association. Check out ohioforest.org/mpage/OhioTreeFarmHome for more information.
Understory. The lowest level of vegetation cover in a forest. This vegetation is usually grasses, shrubs, and small trees.
Uneven-Aged Stand. A forest stand with trees of at least three different age groups.
Uneven-Aged Management. A system of forest management that periodically selects individual trees or small groups of trees for harvest. For a forest to be considered “all aged,” a stand must contain at least three distinct age classes of trees.
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