Harvesting forest products operates on the principle of thinning from below – small malformed trees are removed first (thinned) to give valuable trees access to sunlight, thus facilitating growth. Logs produced from thinning are typically too small to be used as timber, so they are sold as firewood.
Firewood produced from sustainably managed forests is considered a carbon neutral energy source. This is because the sequestration of carbon by the forest as it grows, off-sets carbon emitted from the burning of firewood.
Thinning continues typically until the stand reaches maturity – oak matures at 120-years-old while beech matures at 110-years-old.