What is a Plantation?
A plantation is an area of trees that have been planted by people. At GSCA, plantations are established and managed to create healthy and sustainable forests for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive.
When you walk through a forest you can see the lush leaves, breathe in fresh air, and hear many species of birds singing. If you are walking through a plantation, you might not know that a lot of planning and effort went into creating and managing this beautiful space.
Substantial scientific data is used by GSCA when establishing and managing plantations, starting with the soil, light, and conditions of a site. Suitable species of trees are selected to match these conditions, as well as the appropriate spacing between trees and best planting methods. The preparation of a site must be considered as well, and if vegetation control is necessary to create an environment for new tree seedlings to grow. Sometimes it will be determined that land is not suitable to have trees planted and should be left in its current state to support any identified Species-at-Risk or provide grassland habitat for numerous species such as the bobolink.
Conifers (evergreen trees) are often selected to be planted because they grow quickly, create wildlife habitat, and provide wood products. The conifers act as a nurse crop to prepare the site for natural regeneration. The plantation is periodically thinned with the goal of producing healthy trees and protecting wildlife. As the plantation is thinned, regeneration occurs in the newly opened areas, resulting in a more natural forest ecosystem.
The long-term goals of the plantation are considered, such as the feasibility to conduct thinning operations that help the stand of trees transition into a mixed forest. The presence of mature trees that will produce seeds must also be investigated so that the seedlings selected for planting will be able to grow together harmoniously. Did you know that black walnut trees release a toxin from their roots that can stop other species from growing? Finally, potential financial barriers to establishing and managing the plantation are identified because having adequate funds is essential to a successful plantation project.