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  • Writer's pictureSam Bilhorn

Timber Stand Improvement (TSI): Redefined

Updated: Jan 26


timber stand improvement cutting

In our previous article, we explored the benefits of natural openings in the forest canopy, such as those created by fallen trees, for the all-around benefit of whitetails and other wildlife. We also highlighted the process of Timber Stand Improvement (TSI).

In the realm of deer habitat improvement, TSI or Forest Stand Improvement (FSI) are commonly used terms. However, at Whitetail Partners, we understand that one-size-fits-all approaches may not be effective. That's why we believe it's crucial to first establish the specific goals and priorities of the landowner, taking into account factors such as climate, forest type, and desired outcomes for habitat, hunting, timber value, and more. Only then can we work towards tailored solutions for your property.

Defining Your Goals

By first identifying YOUR goals and priorities for habitat, hunting, timber value, and other focuses as the landowner, you can then work toward solutions for your property. Here are a few questions to develop your vision:

  • Do you value timber production as a priority? Will it be placed above habitat value?

  • Do you have certain cosmetic expectations for your land that will prevent some cutting practices from being used?

  • Do you have a short or long time horizon on your habitat and hunting goals?

  • Do you desire to improve the habitat for other wildlife? While whitetail habitat is certainly in harmony with other wildlife habitats, some methods favor whitetails.

  • Do you want to completely remove non-native plants or monitor and work with them for the positive characteristics they have for deer?

whitetail property sunrise


Answering these and other questions will give you the framework for decisions that will come as make your property plan. Most landowners will find a balance across these considerations and discover good whitetail habitat is in harmony with other goals as well.

Once YOU have defined what 'improvement' includes, we can talk about planning, means, and methods - which we will cover in our next article, Inventory - it’s more than tree identification.

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