RTT CASE STUDY # 9: PRECOMMERCIAL THINNING OF THE MOHEGAN-OFFSET FOREST AT 6.8 YEARS OF AGE.
This forest was planted in August of 2002 to offset the CO2 emissions of the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT. The forest contains 4 tree species, Deglupta, Chancho, Klinkii and Mahogany. This was a pre-commercial thinning, taking out the badly formed trees to favor the better formed. You can see that the two felled trees in this photo were forked at a certain height. They had little or no potential commercial value while the others left behind, did. Those left behind can now grow faster with less competition.
The reason these felled trees are forked was wind damage to the tips when they were younger. This site used to be a pasture. All of the carbon in the stand, including in the roots, is additional. This forest had stored 200 tonnes of CO2/ha when it was 6.5 years old. Farmers will eventually be paid to store carbon (REDD) in forest stands, so information like this is important..
Notice the small Klinkii trees in the lower level of the forest. These shade-tolerant trees will now start to grow faster with the additional light. The role of this tree in the mixture of species is to grow to very large sizes for long-term CO2 storage, part of this RTT design.
We expect to thin this fast-growing forest commercially starting at age 8-10, and again thereafter every 3-5 years. The thinned logs will be sold by the farmer for income, each time leaving the best trees behind in the live forest stand to grow larger. If space appears below the stand, as we expect, other shade-tolerant trees will be underplanted. Their slower growth in that partial shade may produce finer and more valuable hardwood.
These forests were sponsored by US emitters as part of their GHG management plans. This forest was sponsored by the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT. The forests serve as training sites for farmers, students and foresters showing them how to manage farm forests for income and for efficient CO2 capture and storage.
Seated on the log is Rolando Camacho, RTT forester. The farm, Hacienda Las Delicias, is owned by the Rojas Family. Over thirty designs of mixed-species forests are being tested by RTT for efficient carbon capture, long-term storage and for farmer income for sustainability. This is a UNFCCC-AIJ program to develop, demonstrate and apply improved models of carbon-offset forests to manage US CO2 emissions. Photo: June 23, 2009 in Costa Rica.