New England Forestry Foundation
Lauren Owens Lambert

Forest Management

Exemplary Forestry Resources

A One-Stop Shop

On this page, visitors will find NEFF’s standard definition of Exemplary Forestry, a glossary of forestry terms used in Exemplary Forestry reports and in its standards and metrics, videos about forestry and climate-smart wood, and all PDF Exemplary Forestry reports and accompanying documentation.

Standard Definition

Exemplary Forestry is a forest management approach created by New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) that prioritizes forests’ long-term health and outlines the highest standards of sustainability currently available to the region’s forest owners for three key goals: enhancing the role forests can play to mitigate climate change, improving wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and growing and harvesting more sustainably produced wood. NEFF’s Exemplary Forestry approaches—Exemplary Forestry for the Acadian Forest and Exemplary Forestry for Central and Transition Hardwoods—are tailored to the conditions of a particular New England forest region or forest type.

Forest Management Glossary

For readers unfamiliar with the technical aspects of forestry and how forestry impacts climate change, this glossary of terms as used by NEFF may prove useful when reading the Exemplary Forestry standards and accompanying materials.

NEFF staff provided the definitions marked by an asterisk, and all other definitions were taken from Thom J. McEvoy’s Introduction to Forest Ecology and Silviculture-Third Edition

Note: Dbh is an abbreviation for “diameter at breast height,” or 4.5 feet above ground.

  • Additionality: the extent to which a given climate benefit would not have occurred in the absence of a proposed action.
  • B-line stocking: The number of trees per acre for any given mean diameter that results in trees having no crown competition, but also no wasted space.*
  • Best Management Practices: Guidelines for how to conduct an activity in an environmentally responsible manner, such as installing drainage control on a forest road. Best management practices are typically defined by state agencies in each state.*
  • Continuous cover: a silvicultural system involving frequent, light harvests to improve the forest over time while also producing timber.
  • Cord: The volume of wood equivalent to that found in firewood stacked 4’x4’x8’, or 128 cubic feet of wood.*
  • Even-aged management: A timber management method that produces a forest or stand composed of trees having relatively small differences in age. The difference in age between trees forming the main canopy level of a stand usually does not exceed 20 percent of the age of the stand at rotation age.
  • Forest management: Through forest management, a person or organization takes a thoughtful, considered approach to the long-term stewardship of a forest’s natural resources to meet specific goals. Goals can vary widely depending on the management project, and may include wood production, improving wildlife habitat, and protecting the forest’s interconnected waterways. Forest management and forestry are conducted by licensed foresters, and are umbrella terms that encompass many different ways of treating a forest.
  • Forest stand: A community of trees occupying a specific area and sufficiently uniform in composition, age, arrangement, and condition as to be distinguishable from the forest on adjacent areas.
Leakage: A Key Forestry and Climate-Mitigation Term

Leakage is the spillover of in-forest carbon sequestration gains and losses from one economic market to another, given that the wood products we all use have to come from somewhere. If the United States or a region in the U.S. reduced the amount of wood it produced, any progress we claimed to make in reducing global atmospheric CO2 levels by storing more carbon in our unharvested trees would, in practice, be eclipsed by CO2 emissions from other forestry markets that increased harvesting to meet our unchanged demand for wood products.*

  • Patch irregular shelterwood: Creating small gaps in the canopy (generally less than one acre in size) to regenerate a forest stand in patches that are expanded over time.
  • Pole timber: A dbh size class representing trees that are usually more than four inches dbh but less than ten.
  • Saplings: Generally refers to a tree at least six feet tall but with a dbh less than five inches and greater than one inch.
  • Sawtimber: Trees that have obtained a minimum dbh that can be felled and processed into sawlogs.
  • Seedlings: Generally refers to trees less than 4.5 feet tall.
  • Silviculture: The art and science of growing trees for timber and other values.*
  • Stocking: Amount of wood growing on a given area of land, calculated based on the number and size of trees per unit area. Stocking is expressed as volume per unit of area, for example cords per acre.*
  • Third-party certification: An official review of management practices on a particular property by an independent body for adherence to standards for sustainability.*
  • Uneven-aged or all-aged management: A timber management method that produces a stand composed of a wide range of ages.
  • Waterbar: A structure used to divert water off of a road to prevent erosion.*
  • Wood quality: Higher-quality timber includes logs suitable for veneer and sawlogs without significant defects like knots. Lower-quality timber includes pulpwood and, at the extreme end, wood suitable only to be used as fuel or ground for mulch.*

A Powerful Tool

Building a Sustainable Future With Mass Timber

Learn how sustainable wood produced by climate-smart management approaches like Exemplary Forestry make mass timber a particularly powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Viewers can also discover how mass timber is assembled, and how it stores carbon.

New England Forestry Foundation

A New England Forestry Foundation Climate Initiative

Build It With Wood

A sibling initiative to NEFF’s Forest-to-Cities Climate Challenge, Build It With Wood and its standalone website provide in-depth resources for experts like construction firms and forestland owners. Members of the general public are also encouraged to explore the website, and to help us build a climate-secure future with wood.