Cords of Firewood per acre

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RobertRogers, May 15, 2008.

  1. RobertRogers

    RobertRogers Member

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    I live in northern NH and am planning to purchase forested acreage in order to insure a supply of firewood.

    If I were to require ten cords per year and found a good hardwood forest of birch-beach-maple, typical for around here, how many acres might I need for a continuous yearly harvest of this firewood? Culling out the injured trees, providing space for the healthiest etc.

    Of course, I understand no acre is the same but looking for a general ball park figure.
     
  2. General Brown

    General Brown Well-Known Member

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    A huge part of it will depend upon the maturity of the trees.

    Are you sure that the above listed trees are hardwoods? Im quite certain that maple is a softwood....meaning that it will burn quickly and not provide the BTU's you need.
     

  3. Silvercreek Farmer

    Silvercreek Farmer Living the dream. Supporter

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    The old rule of thumb is 1 cord per acre with minimal management, 1.5 cords per acre with more care, but you have to work the entire acreage to keep this up. (ie, you can't just start cutting on one side and expect it to be grown back by the time you make your way back around.)
     
  4. Noslo65

    Noslo65 Member

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    Yellow birch is good, sugar maple is very good, and beech is also very good.
     
  5. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    These two got it about right. The only thing I'd add is you might want to insulate more so you don't need so much wood. ;)
     
  6. hillsidedigger

    hillsidedigger Well-Known Member

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    I might ask, how close is the woodlot to where you live?

    If its too far, like more than a few hundred feet, you might be spending more to save less.

    Here and in other parts of the South, 2 to 3 cords per acre per year is not unrealistic (although it might be truly softwood, yellow pine) and long-term sustained yield is not tied to the current maturity of the stand.

    If possible, 'thin from below', take the worst trees first. Ultimately, there still might come a time for a regeneration harvest (clear-cut, but possibly only in limited sections) when nothing but good, big trees remain.
     
  7. ai731

    ai731 Jan

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    I agree with Matthew. The common practice up here is that you need 10 acres of woodlot to provide firewood to heat a reasonably well insulated house through the winter.
     
  8. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    What others have said...in the northern states, on average, a one cord (4'x4'x 8') sustainable yield of firewood can be be expected from a healthy hardwood woodlot.
     
  9. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    To respond to one statement, there are soft wood and hard wood species of maples...or at least species where the trees are strong and stable and some that are weak wooded.
     
  10. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    10 acres would be a good number. Start by thinning out all the dead/dieing trees... then the leaning trees... then the crooked trees. Good rule of thumb is to keep the nice straight good growing trees and clear everything in a 16 foot radius around the tree. That will insure good sunlight through the canopy and give you a well managed woodlot that will sustain you for many many years to come.
     
  11. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Is that from an acre of woodlot?

    ------------------------------------------------

    No matter how many acres of woodlot your purchase, personally, I'd never cut anything off of the woodlot, except in dire emergencies. I don't know about NH or any 'Northern' habits or rituals... but down hereabouts, there's always somebody logging their land, storm damaging woodlots, farmers clearing fields and cleaning fences, and urbanites needing trees removed... (tree limbing services always are looking for places to dump wood). So, the wood is free... all you have to do is cut it and haul it away. I'd much rather cut someone else's wood, than my own... I'd rather let mine grow... and if I have a 'squirrely' old oak that dies, if I have wood from other sources, I'll just let that squirrely ol tree rot in place, for wildlife purposes.

    What's the point in having neighbors, if you can't give and take. Give a little help when you see someone in a bind, and instead of taking cash (the root of all evil), take it out in 'futures contracts'... if they have any trees die, you'd like to cut em up for logs or firewood...
     
  12. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately it's just that idea that causes so many forest fires to spread and get out of hand as quickly as they do. We have way too much understory in our woods that act as "ladder fuels" to help small fires burn hot and get to the tree tops with a vengence. Woodlot ownership comes with responsibilities. You don't hear anything about forest fires burning out of control in NH or any Northeastern areas.... it's all out west where people can't or don't maintain a proper woodlot.

    (The sound you hear is me "climbing off my soap box")!
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Yes.....
     
  14. akhomesteader

    akhomesteader Well-Known Member

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    We have 15 acres that supply all of our wood for heating and cooking. It also supplies a lot of logs for milling lumber and building.
     
  15. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Ken, all of the northeastern forests haven't been converted to plantations, have they? I hope not. I know a lot of Maine's forests belong to timber/paper companies...

    As a rule, we don't have fires down here too often (like Never... at least the wild conflagrations you have out west). I can never remember an out of control wildfire... in E Texas... I've been involved with quite a few out West, that got a little scary.

    Fire is good, as long as fire averse foresters haven't insisted on putting out every tiny little fire for decades...

    The old oaks here, when they die, take forever to rot... burning em is almost impossible
     
  16. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

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    We had woods fires out in Vidor, back when I was volunteering in the fire department. We tended to get one or two every summer. Generally, we just spent a couple of days controlling them as, face it, being a small, rural fire department, we simply did not have the equipment and man-power to try and actually put out a 100 acre plus woods fire. So, we simply kept them from spreading.

    We always had "controlled burns" about when the weather was ripe for it.
     
  17. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget to leave some of the fallen wood to rot naturally and some standing dead trees (snags) for raptors and other critters to nest in. This is part of woodlot management also. I cut 6 cords out of 16 acres of my woodlot and after a year you would hardly know it. It's was overstocked. Chris
     
  18. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Cutting the dead and dying and the fallen and the non merchantable timber 10 acres should provide firewood for a modern home in a sustainable manner indefinitely.