Timber Harvest Methods Explained: Clearcutting

Clearcutting Timber Harvesting Explained

The most economically profitable and the historically most popular timber harvesting technique, clearcutting, has taken a lot of flack in recent years. Like most methods and aspects of forest management, clearcutting can have both a positive and a negative impact. For years, loggers and settlers used this method to clear large swaths of the forest with little thought of the environmental impact. This still happens in less developed areas of the world, but this timber harvest method is not always destructive.

What Is Clearcutting?

Clearcutting is the timber harvest method of cutting down all or most of the trees in a given area. This form of forest management doesn’t pick and choose the healthiest or strongest trees to cut down. Instead, the logging company or farmer comes through and cuts down even the trees that won’t give them any profit. Clearcutting often leaves behind a huge area of land devoid of any forest at all, and for long periods of time, it was a popular form of clearing land in developing nations and part of the slash and burn technique.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Clearcutting

Many people think clearcutting only has downsides, but this isn’t the case. Clearcutting, when performed correctly, can benefit the overall health of the forest. Clearcutting can be beneficial or detrimental. It all depends on how it is performed.


During times of explosive population growth and overcrowding, people have traditionally turned to clearcutting. They used this technique to clear large areas of the forest without the intention of ever letting the trees grow back. When loggers or settlers use clearcutting to simply clear a swath of the forest, this not only causes deforestation but also erodes the topsoil and forever destroys and alters natural habitats. Erosion and landslides become more prevalent in areas undergoing large scale and reckless clearcutting.


When performed in a mindful manner, clearcutting is a beneficial timber harvest technique. An experienced log cutting company can clear a patch of forest to help foster new growth. With the right technique, a logging company can determine which species of tree will flourish. This helps loggers improve the ecosystem or give certain trees the room and resources to flourish.

Get Your Timber Harvested by Turner Logging

At Turner Logging, we work to offer you the best timber harvest techniques for your land. We can apply forest management strategies to increase your timber production, to maintain your forest, or to help you turn a profit on your timber. Contact Turner Logging today to get started.