Felling trees is an important part of woodland maintenance, as well as an important source of materials used in many things. But what is the felling of trees called?
Felling of trees is called deforestation. This means a standing tree is cut and dropped in place, as opposed to limbing and bucking. Removing trees entirely from where they stand is felling and deforestation, as we’re removing parts of a ‘forest’. Tree felling can also be referred to as harvesting.
Felling of trees is a very old practice, and thus the language we use to describe it is steeped in history. There are also a lot of important distinctions to make within the field, which is part of why it’s important to have this variety of different terms.
What is the felling of trees called?
Felling of trees, or cutting down trees, is called deforestation. This is quite a literal and self-explanatory term—the forest is being cut back by felling trees. The intentional clearing of forested land or woodland is deforestation, even if the trees themselves are not all that large.
Some would say that deforestation is only when you are clearing large areas of a forest. In that case, the felling of trees has no other name—it is just tree felling. But deforestation doesn’t have to mean on the largest scales that we’re used to hearing about. Even removing a small number of trees from an area is considered deforestation.
The only other case where the term deforestation may not really apply is in the case of plantations where trees are grown to be felled. In this case, we call the felling of trees harvesting, in the same way we would harvest crops. The actual act of chopping down the tree is still just called felling.
Felling trees, specifically, refers to the practice of cutting down a whole tree, with quality cutting tools, and letting it fall in place. This is distinct from the terms bucking, which means to cut a felled tree into logs to be removed, and limbing, the process of removing unwanted branches from a tree.
Why do people say ‘felling of trees’?
People say ‘felling of trees’ mostly when they are in the tree logging industry because this is a more proper term adapted from history. People who aren’t in the field of wood cutting often just think of this activity as ‘cutting down a tree’. But there are different steps in this process. Felling of trees specifically refers to cutting a tree down and letting it fall in place.
The term ‘felling’, as far back as we can tell, was taken from the Old English word ‘faellan’, which meant to cause something to fall. As time has gone on, the present-tense verb ‘felling’ has remained in use, mostly when it comes to trees.
Keeping the term ‘felling’ in use also helps to point out different roles of people in the logging process. The feller is the person with the chainsaw who cuts down the tree. They are assisted by loggers. You will also have other people to limb and buck felled trees, who are different to fellers.
So, the main purpose for people saying ‘felling of trees’ and using the ‘felling’ term is to specify what part of the logging job is being done. Felling is one part of a larger process.
What is a felled tree called?
Once the tree is felled, it is no longer a tree, and at that point starts being called a log. Usually, when a tree is felled, it is then bucked into several logs for easier transportation. So, a felled tree is usually called a log, or several logs.
This is not to be confused with lumber, also known as timber. This is the point at which the wood has been processed in a mill and turned into planks or boards. This is a step ahead in the wood cutting and manufacturing processes.
You can still call a felled tree exactly that. But professionals will start referring to a felled tree as a log almost as soon as it has been cut down.
What does felling trees mean?
Felling trees means cutting down a single tree, intentionally, as opposed to letting it fall due to weather conditions or other natural factors. It’s also distinct from chopping up a felled tree into logs, and from cutting off, or pruning, the branches and limbs of a tree.
In a literal sense, felling trees means ‘to let them fall’. They are felled by loggers and fellers. Practically, though, the trees are very carefully chopped down and then allowed to fall in precisely the way a logger wants. This practice is to prevent felled trees from whacking into other still-standing trees and potentially damaging them. Felling trees is also done in a way that ensures the trees don’t fall towards the teams of loggers. To be safe, wearing PPE is always important for fellers and loggers in case something goes wrong while felling trees.
What are felled trees used for?
Once a tree is felled, it is sent to a sawmill and processed into timber, or lumber. Depending on the quality of the wood, they might become any number of different things.
Quality wood is known as construction-grade timber and can be used in building work and high-end furniture. This is the timber you see used when building houses, both the structures and internal features. It can be used in large amounts when building a weatherboard house. The quality wood from felled trees is typically sent off to companies that have contracts with wood suppliers to be used for their main products. Meanwhile, lower-quality wood isn’t sold off at such a high cost and can be used by anyone.
Lower quality wood from felled trees can end up being used as fence posts or wooden pallets. It can sometimes even be given away by bigger construction centres. This wood is still strong and sturdy, but not of a high enough quality for building.
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