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Kentucky's Hardwood Resource

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Old-growth forests that once covered the state almost entirely were destroyed by land clearing that began in the mid-eighteenth century and by heavy logging after the Civil War. Strip-mining after World War II damaged many sites. With the decline in harvesting intensity and the increase of sound strip mine reclamation, the forests are slowly yet steadily recovering.

Today forests occupy about half of the land area in the state, the distribution being concentrated in the mountainous eastern portion. Hardwoods dominate overwhelmingly among many species growing on a diversity of sites. Oaks and hickories are the most important timber species. They are discriminated against by partial cutting--essentially high-grading--that favors development of shade-tolerant species like American beech and sugar maple.

Volume growth is good, with growing stock accruing 2.5 times as fast as it is being removed. Improved management and utilization would markedly increase the hardwood resource and the volume and quality of timber that could be drawn from it.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Forest Resource Analyst, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Broomall, Pennsylvania

Publication date: 1982-08-01

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    The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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