Glossary

Biodiversity: The full range of living organisms that inhabit a particular ecosystem.

Cavity trees: Standing trees, either live or dead, which contain hollowed out areas. They are used as shelter for a variety of animals.

Chlorophyll: The green pigment in plants that absorbs sunlight and converts it to energy, as part of photosynthesis. 

Clearcutting: A silvicultural method in which all trees in a given area are removed, followed by planting or natural regeneration.  This even-aged management method is often used to encourage shade-intolerant species such as birch and aspen.

Coniferous: Trees that bear their seeds in cones. Usually refers to trees with needles.

Conservation commissions: Volunteer municipal boards charged by the state legislature with the responsibility to inventory and protect a community's natural resources.

Conservation easements: Legal agreements between landowners and conservation organizations or government agencies that restrict uses of the land and protect the land's special values.

Conservation organizations: Private organizations that advocate for the conservation of natural resources.

Deciduous: Trees that annually lose all their leaves. In Maine, this includes all broadleaf tree species, plus the coniferous Larch, or Tamarack.

Deer yards: Stands of thick softwood with sufficient crown closure to provide winter shelter for tens and even hundreds of deer, when snow gets too deep for them to travel easily. Deer yards can range from only a few acres to several hundred acres.

Dendrology: The study of tree identification.

Ecosystem:  A community of species (or group of communities) and its physical environment, including atmosphere, soil, sunlight, and water.

Endangered species: A species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its natural range of habitat.

Exotic species: A species that is not native to the ecosystem.

Forest cover types: A natural grouping of associated species of trees and other plants which commonly occur together over large areas. Forest types are named after one or more dominant tree species in the type.

Forest management: The practical application of scientific, economic, and social principles to the administration of a forest.

Forester
: A person trained in the art and science of developing, caring for, and cultivating forests.

Habitat: An area that provides an animal or plant with adequate food, water, shelter, and living space.

Hardwood: Usually refers to a deciduous tree. Also describes the wood from such trees.

Land owner: may be a person, company, public jurisdiction or other organization with legal rights and responsibilities regarding a specific geographic area.

Land trusts: Private organizations that protect land from certain uses directly, usually through the purchase or donation of land or easements.

Logger: A person engaged in harvesting, preparing for market, and transporting forest products, such as logs and chips.

Mast: Seeds and fruits from trees and shrubs consumed by wildlife. Hard mast is seeds such as acorns and beechnuts. Soft mast is fleshy fruit such as blueberries, black cherries, and apples.

Natural communities: A natural grouping of trees, plants, microbes, and animals that interact closely. The groupings are based on preferences for similar types of soil, water, and climate.

Old growth forests: Forests that have escaped harvesting or other human modification over the last 350 years.

Overstory removal: The final stage of harvest in a shelterwood system, where the last stems of the previous stand are cut to release established understory trees. See Shelterwood System.

Photo synthesis: The process by which green plants, in the presence of sunlight and chlorophyll, produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water, and liberate oxygen.

Pulpwood: Timber that is cut and processed into pulp for paper and other products.

Regeneration: The renewal of vegetation by natural or artificial means.  Regeneration of desired species is an integral part of a forest management plan.

Sawtimber: Trees that are cut and processed to make lumber, boards or other sawn wood products.

Seed tree System: A silvicultural method in which all trees are removed except for certain individual stems or groups of stems left to provide seed for establishing the next stand. One variation of even-age management.

Selection system: A silvicultural method that promotes or maintains an uneven or all-aged stand. This method usually involves periodic cuttings of individual stems or small groups of stems from the full range of diameter, age, and quality classes. See Uneven-aged.

Shelterwood system: A sivicultural method that gradually removes all the stems in a stand over a series of partial harvests, while allowing for regeneration to become established. A variation of even-aged management. See overstory removal.

Silviculture: The science and art of cultivating forests to produce a variety of products and uses that benefit humans and other species.

Softwood: Usually refers to a coniferous tree. Also can be used to describe the wood from such trees.

Succession: The gradual replacement of one community by another.

Threatened species: Any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its natural range of habitat. See endangered species.

Transpiration: The process by which plants move water from the ground into the atmosphere.

Uneven-aged: A forest or group of forest stands with at least three distinct age classes. See Selection System.

Veneer Logs: Logs that are peeled or sliced into very thin sheets, which are further processed into plywood or used in furniture and other wood products.