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Forest Stand Improvement Practices for Oklahoma


Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) is a term that includes forest management intended to improve the composition and structure of a forest stand. It is an intermediate stand treatment where the final goal is harvestable wood products. A stand is a contiguous area of forest that has either a minimum acreage, similar composition (similar species), similar tree density and/or similar tree age or size class. Therefore, a stand is a basic unit of forest that is under the same management. TSI can include any management activity that changes the forest structure and composition of a stand such as prescribed fire, felling individual trees, killing individual or clusters of trees with herbicide, suppressing competing trees, mechanically reducing fuels, limbing trees or controlling invasive species.


TSI generally includes activities prior to a commercial timber harvest but often implies that the TSI activities are intended to improve future timber harvest opportunities. When commercial timber production is not the primary goal, the term Forest Stand Improvement (FSI) is sometimes used to indicate the practices are intended to promote forest goals other than commercial wood products (i.e., timber). This designation is meaningful because it implies the intended focus is on non-timber forest resources. FSI might include goals such as wildlife, aesthetics, watershed, wildfire prevention, livestock grazing and herbaceous vegetation composition. Many of the same practices are used for TSI and FSI, and it is the intent or goal that determines which term is used. FSI will be used in this document except in specific instances where the practice would be most applicable to management intended to improve a future timber harvest, in which case the term TSI is appropriate.


As mentioned above, FSI includes multiple practices that change forest stand structure and composition. However, this document is focused primarily on the management of the forest overstory and midstory (i.e. tree cover) with implications to understory vegetation, wildlife, fuels and livestock forage. Further, this document describes herbicide and mechanical methods; prescribed fire is covered in other documents as are foliar herbicide applications intended to be used on understory vegetation. Specific herbicide recommendations contained within this document use active ingredients rather than trade or brand names unless a specific product is unique to the situation described. We have not included a complete list of all herbicides that may be applicable. Rather, we have chosen herbicides that are widely available, effective and do not require herbicide applicators license. Applicators should familiarize themselves with the chemical composition and formulation of any herbicide product and carefully read the complete herbicide label and safety information before applying.


For more information, visit E-1058 Forest Stand Improvement Practices for Oklahoma First Edition - 2023.

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