Taking a Seedling Survival Survey

By: Sherm Sallee, Master Woodland Manager, Linn County

One of the many things I learned at the Master Woodland Manager (MWM) mini-college this year was how to do a simple survey of the stocking of a clear cut area. We have a small clear cut that was planted in 2009. I wanted to know how the stand is doing racing toward the 200 trees per acre “free-to-grow” requirement by 2014. I don’t want to be one of those statistics that gets a citation for failure to replant in a timely manner.

Here is how I learned to perform a seedling survival survey. First, I put a small nail in the end of the handle of my shovel. This way I can hook one end of my loggers tape to the shovel that I stick in the ground and walk out 11.8-feet. This represents a distance that
when I complete a circle around the shovel will be 1/100th of an acre. I can then count the number of trees within the circle and that number multiplied by 100 will represent the number of trees per acre. Taking a number of samples over the clear cut will give you a pretty good picture of the stocking.

I prepared a tally sheet that let me keep track of the number of plots I sampled and a description of each of the trees in that plot (species, height, leader growth, browsed and forked). I also left room for a brief description of where in the clear cut the plot was
located and any comments I wanted to make about each tree.

It is recommended that these surveys be completed in years 1, 3 and 5. This way, you can make management decisions along the way in a timely manner so your stand will meet the reforestation requirements in the 5-year period. I was a bit late (year 2) doing my survey but I feel better about how my stand is doing now that the survey is complete. I have a good idea of what I need to do to keep the stand moving forward.