Silviculture Plots | Joan Weill Adirondack Library

Paul Smith's College Forestry Division - Silviculture Plots

For over fifty years the forestry division of Paul Smith's College has required its students to complete a dynamic and rigorous course in silviculture, the art and science of controlling forest structure, composition establishment and growth. Known commonly as "Silvi", skills developed from Silviculture 132 may be considered one of the foundation blocks of any branch of forest operations and management.

Since the 1950's students have had the opportunity to study silviculture under a line of distinguished foresters and teachers. The course culminates with a five-week field exercise where students are separated into crews and assigned a "plot" of forested land upon which an appropriate silvicultural prescription is implemented. During this project, crews are expected to use whatever resources necessary to carry out their prescription. For example a commercial thinning operation may necessitate the use of a grapple skidder whereas our team of draft horses may be appropriate for "no-octane"-minded students.

The results of this exercise are the famed "Silvi" reports, documents containing a wealth of forestry research data such as forest inventories, growth studies, insects and disease, wildlife and habitat mitigation, local markets for merchantable harvests, environmental impact statements, area and plot histories, climate and weather recommendations for future treatments. Reports from each treatment are graded and appended to the historic reports associated with each plot.

Not all of the reports have survived over the years, but the ones that are actively used in classes have been digitized and made available below for student and public use.

To see a map of the plots as they stood in 1980 click here.