Forestry science continually teaches Washington’s foresters new harvesting practices to care for the long-term health of their private forests. For example, soil compaction has been found to reduce the regeneration capacity of a replanted forest. Foresters now use harvesting methods and machinery that minimizes soil disturbance. Science research has shown the importance of leaving behind trees and downed logs for wildlife habitat. A number of wildlife reserve trees, green recruitment trees, snags, and downed logs are now left in harvested areas for birds and small animals.
Clearcut harvesting removes all the trees from a specific area at one time. Studies show that by cutting down an entire area, new seedlings planted during reforestation are able to capture the sunlight they need without competition from larger trees. To reduce the visual impact of clearcut harvesting, private forest landowners are applying new landscape architecture principles, such as following the natural curves of the land, avoiding square corners, and eliminating ridge-top harvesting.