Quinault Stand Improvement Program
The main goal of the Quinault Stand Improvement Program is to maintain forest stands in a healthy, free-to-grow state on Quinault Indian Nation lands. The program includes those activities whose objectives are aimed at promoting tree survival and maintaining or enhancing growth and quality during the first 35 years following reforestation. Activities addressed under the Quinault Stand Improvement Program include fertilization and thinning.
The Quinault Stand Improvement Program maintains guidelines and specifications for determining if and when treatments are needed, type of treatment necessary, and the desired results of treatment. These determinations are based on stand exams, models, aerial reconnaissance, research, and site visits.
Quinault Stand Improvement Fertilizing
Fertilizing through aerial application methods is done to enhance a stand’s growth and vigor. In some cases, fertilization may decrease pest and disease problems by increasing the vigor of the stand. For a stand to be considered for aerial fertilization, it must fall into one of the following five categories:
- The site class of the majority of the stand or project area must be on sites >100 according to the most current stand inventory or from measured site trees
- Well-stocked stands that are in need of crown closure
- Chlorotic stands that are growing on nutrient deficient sites
- Stands that have been recently thinned
- Previously thinned stands 10-15 years from harvest
Each unit proposed for aerial fertilization will undergo an environmental checklist to finalize any environmental concerns and mitigation measures. Following are some general application guidelines:
- Fertilizer is typically applied in the early spring months to coincide with new root growth
- Fertilizer may be applied within riparian management zones
- Fertilizer pellets will be of sufficient size and weight so as not to drift out of the application area
- Care will be taken to prevent any over ground flow from occurring during application or expected to occur in the project area for at least 2 days after application
- The use of specialized weather forecasts will be used to determine when operations can occur
Quinault Stand Improvement Thinning Types
There are three types of thinning used by the Quinault Division of Natural Resources as a stand improvement treatment:
Pre-commercial Thinning (PCT): A thinning from below in young stands mostly focused on spacing. PCT is done to reduce competition for growing space. The smaller, less healthy stems are removed to allow the larger healthy stems more access to light, moisture, and nutrients. Eligibility for PCT is based on diameter at breast height, age (approximately 10 to 25 years old, depending on species) and density
Pre-commercial Timber Stand Improvement Thinning (TSI): Timber Stand Improvement thinning is also from below and is done in stands that are considered backlog (an overstocked stand that is at least 15 years old). Reasons for doing a TSI thinning include growth enhancement, reducing the need for site preparation, conifer release, and/or reduction of piece handling during harvest.
Commercial Thinning (CT): Commercial thinning is an intermediate stand treatment that is done to benefit the residual stand quality by redistributing and maximizing growth potential on the most desirable trees. A secondary objective is to capture volume that would otherwise be lost to mortality. Most commercial thinning is from below; however, a thin from above may occur particularly in response to forest health issues. Unless thinning is timed properly, crown recession can continue to the point where release becomes problematic.
Quinault Stand Improvement Eligibility
For a stand to be considered eligible for any of the three thinning treatments, a review of the area is conducted by the Quinault Stand Improvement Program to determine if established guidelines and criteria have been met. Candidate stands are reviewed by aerial photo interpretation to identify stand types. The soils and site indices of the area are recorded and verified from the NRCS Soil Survey of the Quinault Indian Nation, and the QIN inventory. Stands with a site index of at least 100 are given the highest priority for treatment.
Once chosen, the stand is reviewed by the inventory forester or stand improvement forester to determine if there are records of a stand exam. If not, a field review (walk thru) is conducted to estimate total trees per acre (TPA) for PCT and TSI, or basal area for CT.
Currently, units with less than 300 TPA are not eligible PCT or TSI; however, CT would still be an option. Rather than using a TPA requirement, commercial thinning is evaluated on a variety of criteria with emphasis on basal area. If a stand meets the planning criteria, a pretreatment inventory is conducted and another field review may be scheduled to re-establish boundaries. Following these preliminary procedures, a more defined prescription must be written. Prescriptions may include “no treatment” or “deferred treatment” for stands or parts of stands that fall outside of the thinning guidelines.
Forestry Manager, Jim Plampin » 360.276.8215 x290
Stand Improvement Forester, John Mitchell » 360.276.8215 x505
Additional Quinault Stand Improvement Resources: