Silviculture and management strategies applicable to southern upland hardwoods
The southern upland hardwoods include extensive areas in the southern Appalachians, Cumberland Plateau and Ozark/Ouachita regions. The majority of commercial hardwoods in the south occur in the region often referred to as the "Southern Appalachian Region". For purposes of this discussion, this region includes the hilly or mountainous area west and north of the Piedmont and south of the glaciated portion of Pennsylvania. Using Fenneman's (1938) classification, this region is called the "Appalachian Highlands", and it contains parts of three physiographic provinces (Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley and Appalachian Plateaus).
Hardwood stands in the southern highlands have experienced a similar history, including the impact of indigenous people (primarily fire), European land clearing, timber exploitation and agricultural abandonment. Hardwood forests today are mostly owned by small non-industrial private owners (NIPF) and are again reaching merchantable size bringing about a resurgence of commercial interest in them. Unfortunately, much of the harvesting being done is motivated by commercial rather than silvicultural considerations. Some of this is simply greed-motivated exploitation, but oftentimes individuals with good intentions lack the tools for making proper silvicultural decisions.