Timberland Education

Timberland Products

The value of timber trees is based on the value of the products that can be made from them. This is dictated by size (height and diameter), species, and quality of the trees.

1. chipwood: Timber that is less than 6” in diameter and has a height smaller than 35’. Is used at local paper mills as fuel for heating the mills boilers.

2. pulpwood: 6-9” diameter. Pulpwood trees are chipped into small pieces, chemically treated, and made into paper. Pulpwood is measured in tons or standard cords.

3. Chip-N-Saw: 10-13” tree diameter. By using a combination of techniques, these mid-sized trees produce chips for pulpwood as well as small dimension lumber. Chip-n-saw is measured in tons or standard cords. Value is heavily dependent on tree quality.

4. sawtimber: 12” in diameter. Trees are cut into lumber. Waste material is converted into chips for fuel or paper production. Sawtimber is measured in tons or board feet. Value is heavily dependent on tree quality.


Planting is absolutely crucial to maintain the sustainably in our forest in South Carolina and at Palmetto Pulpwood we are here to help in assisting landowners on replanting their tract of land back with the top of the line seedlings on the market. A lot of scientific research has gone into genetically improving pine due to it being the number one cash crop in our state. These genetic improvements include a faster growing pine species, disease resistant, drought resistant, and on overall better quality tree to grow for future timber markets.

Timberland Life Cycle

Timberland grows in a cycle of life. Similar to a human, trees are planted and are grown to a mature age and eventually reach the end of its die. From the beginning, a pine tree is planted and starts its life in the seedling stage.

The first year in this seedling stage the pine seedling will develop its root system and establish a main tap root. Once the root system is established the seeding will start to grow in height and grow into the sapling stage. The plateau of growth rate is at an uphill angle.

During the sapling stage the height and crown’s growth really start to develop. Over time the pine will then grow into the pulpwood stage to where you would plan on implementing a first thinning. After a first thinning, the dominant and co-dominant trees will begin to show in the stands canopy. At this stage of the cycle the pine will from a pulpwood product into a majority of Chip-N-Saw products.

Over time the pine Chip-N-Saw products will eventually grow into a saw-timber product. During this sawtimber stage of a pine’s life the growth begins to plateau due to it becoming an older and more mature pine. A mature pine at this stage can become more susceptible to disease and will have a higher chance of becoming damaged and blown over during heavy winds and hurricanes due to the large crowns. Forestry management and a plan is crucial to growing timber on your property. An unhealthy stand is a timber stand that has no prior management or plan in place to promote timber growth.

Thinning Practice

Thinning is a great tool in the Forestry handbook that is used to help promote growth and overall health of a pine stand. Pine species is very competitive amongst each individual trees. They compete with one another for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Eventually once these trees reach a certain size and age dominant trees in the stand will eventually out compete the smaller inferior trees resulting in these trees dying over time due to limited water, nutrients, and sunlight.

This is where the practice of thinning takes place in a pine stand. In the thinning process, the smaller inferior trees are harvested before they die and are merchandised for a profit versus a loss. Once pine in a stand has been thinned the abundant amount of water, nutrients, and sunlight will benefit the standing trees that are left due to less competition. Thinning is used to grow pine in its diameter to increase the weight. Before a stand is thinned, pine will grow in their height due to competing against one another for sunlight. Height growth is at a high rate before a first thinning and diameter growth is at a minimum. Thinning will allow the height growth to lower while allowing the pine to focus on growing its diameter. Diameter growth is the key in growing weight that results in a higher profit off your timber. The main goal for thinning is to grow timber from a pulpwood product into a future higher value Sawtimber product.

At Palmetto Pulpwood we strive ourselves on implementing the correct thinning practice on pine stands for our landowners in order for them to help promote timber growth and the overall stand’s health.

Harvesting Equipment

At Palmetto Pulpwood we offer a very large logging force that are scattered throughout our state that range from chipping crews, thinning crews, final harvesting crews, and shovel logging crews. A conventional logging crew is comprised of 3 different types of equipment: a feller buncher, a skidder, and a loader.

1. Feller Buncher: equipment that is used to cut into the bottom of a tree and fell it into a pile of trees.

2. Skidder: equipment that has a grapple that is used to grab the pile of trees that is stacked up from the feller buncher and then drags to the loader.

3. Loader: equipment that is used to grab, delimb, and separate timber products out and are then loaded onto a truck for transport.

BMP Guidelines

Palmetto Pulpwood follows all accordance to SC BMP laws for harvesting timber. Attached below is the BMP Handbook.

Forestry FAQ's

1Forest Area
• South Carolina has 12.9 million acres of forestland -- 67% of the state’s total land area.
• Hardwood timber types occupy over 52% of the state’s forestland. Softwoods occupy 48%.
2Economic Impact
• Forestry is number two among manufacturing industries in jobs (84,000) and labor income.
• Total economic impact of South Carolina’s forest industry is $21 billion annually.
• South Carolina exports $1.3 billion in forest products each year.
• Timber is the state’s number one harvested crop at $1.1 billion annually.
3Forest Ownership
• 87% of South Carolina’s forests are privately owned.
• 63% of private forests are family-owned.
• The average “family forest” is 80 acres. 56% of these owners live on the land.
• Forest industries own 330,000 acres, down 84% since 2001. n Public agencies manage 13% of South Carolina’s forests.
4Forest Inventory
• South Carolina’s forests now contain 26.6 billion cubic feet of wood, more than at any time in the past century.
• The state’s forests, both hardwood and softwood, are growing more wood than is being harvested.
Information provided by SC Forestry Commission and USDA Forest Service

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