Skip to main content

2023 Precommercial Thinning at Schenck Forest

The North Carolina State University forest managers conducted a pre-commercial thinning at the Schenck Forest from early January 2023, and were able to successfully complete the thinning by first the week of March. This operation had no impact on most activities for users while on the forest. Please see the appended map for a view of the area of operation.
The pre-commercial thinning, hear out abbreviated PCT, was scheduled to be completed between January and May of 2023.

A PCT is done by mechanically removing the undesired vegetation, typically using brush saws or chainsaws. This is a normal practice that is often needed to help maintain a healthy stand of trees. Natural regeneration of loblolly pine, such as what was done in this area, often results in excess trees that are competing for resources. This creates unhealthy competition for the desired crop trees causing an overstocked situation. This will cause the stand to become weak and more susceptible to disease and insect infestation. To remedy this, a PCT is done to remove the excess vegetation and allow the remaining trees to maintain their vigor and resist forest pests.

One of the major ecological disadvantages of PCT is the increase of fuel content in the understory. This increases the chance of wildfire destroying the stand, but after about 3 to 5 years, this fuel load will be decayed down enough and will no longer pose a threat to the stand. The threat of fire is significantly less concerning when compared to insect infestations such as Ips or Southern Pine beetle which can decimate a stand.

PCT treatments also allow the remaining crop trees to continue a productive growth rate that will help the stand be more marketable in the future.

Precommercial Thinning Area