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Forest Management

The Northumberland County Forest has achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C018800) through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest's Forest Certification Program. The FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.

The Northumberland County Forest's timber resources are managed in 5-year cycles. These are defined in out silvicultural operations plans, with silviculture defined as the art and science of establishing, growing and managing forest vegetation. The ways that we manage the Northumberland County Forest are based on best-practices, mostly following the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Silvicultural Guide to managing Southern Ontario's Forests, the Forest Management Guide to Silviculture in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and Boreal Forests of Ontario and the Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales.

All planning is carried out by a Registered Professional Forester. Prior to timber harvesting, each forest patch (called compartments) has a prescription written by a Registered Professional Forester. The prescription outlines where timber harvesting will take place, what the objectives of the harvest are, what harvest method will be used, what the desired state is and any other considerations that are needed. Certified tree markers then mark the timber based on the Forester's prescription. In general, there are 3 main objectives for silviculture in the Northumberland County Forest:

  1. Conversion of conifer plantations such as pine, spruce or larch plantations to more natural forest cover through periodic thinnings,

  2. The removal of unacceptable growing stock such as trees with defects or that are in decline to further develop a healthy forest based on the re-seeding of good genetic stock. This can be referred to as the worst first approach,

  3. Promotion of rare or uncommon habitats such as Black Oak Woodland or specific understory plants such as New Jersy Tea. 

The Silvicultural Operations Plan provides the direction needed to manage the timber resources of the Northumberland County Forest. When the objective is to have a sustainably managed, working forest, silvicultural operations planning is necessary for managing stand establishment, composition and growth.



The Northumberland County Forest's silviculture is managed on a 5 year cycle. The High Conservation Values report is part of this Five Year Silvicultural Operations Plan 2016-2020 (Section 5 pg 23 to 36).  A copy of the report and it's review is available by contacting 

Printable Version (pdf document)

Or click on the document to read the 2016-2020 plan.

Public input is appreciated for all parts of the Silvicultural Operations Plan. We would like to direct particular attention to input on our management of conservation values. If you know of any locations of natural or cultural heritage values please let us know where they are. As well, we would like to know if there are any areas of cultural significance to a community in the Forest.

Please submit comments to Todd Farrell, Forest Manager, by e-mail at or by calling 905-372-3329 ext.2303. Comments can also be mailed to:

The County of Northumberland
555 Courthouse Rd.
Cobourg, ON
K9A 5J6


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