Use of the forest means using its resources – obtaining timber, harvesting forest fruit and mushroom, collecting plants or their parts for the pharmaceutical industry, obtaining Christmas trees, excavating for mineral deposits, and many other. Foresters allow the society to use forest resources, however, in a sustainable way.
The amount of timber to be obtained in each forest district, termed timber harvest, is specified in a forest arrangement plan (FAP) Timber harvest is the maximum planned quantity of timber expressed as cubic meters that can be obtained from the stand without damaging it (in Poland, about 55% of the growth is harvested), while ensuring a regular increase in timber resources remaining in the forest. This mass (quantity) is determined for a period of 10 years. Foresters manage forests in a way ensuring their continuity and possibility for biological regeneration. It is estimated that currently the standing timber volume (quantity of timber in forest stands) exceeds 2.4 billion m3 of timber.
The harvested timber comes from:
- clear cutting – removing “mature” stands from the forest, their main objective is restructuring and restoration of the stands;
- nurtural cutting (cleaning and thinning) – removing from the forest trees considered as undesirable and harmful to remaining trees and valuable components of the stands;
- unplanned cuttings – in consequence of natural catastrophes in the forest.
Forestry operations conducted in SF are increasingly mechanised. The number of machines working in forests, such as harvesters and forwarders, increases. This way the scope of manual operations is reduced, safety during wood cutting is improved, and damage to turf is reduced, by simplifying extraction (transport of harvested timber from a place of its harvesting to storage locations).
We use the forest not only to harvest timber, but also to harvest forest fruit and mushrooms. It should be remembered that all forest fruit and mushrooms can be gathered freely for our own needs, of course, in a way that does not damage other components of the natural environment.