Not only are winter cedar removal projects easier on folks doing the work, but also easier on fragile glade ecosystems with the vegetation well dormant, the ground frozen to avoid soil disturbance from trampling. Unfortunately, I've seen cedar removal projects conducted by a certain agency in Missouri that involved the use of heavy machinery rather than a team of workers with chainsaws. This heavy handed management typical for this agency is patently destructive and has resulted in significant erosion, soil disturbance, and the utter ruination of glade-woodland ecosystems throughout the state. However, most conscientious landowners are aware that proper glade restoration efforts involve cutting cedars, burning cedars when they're green to avoid the heat of red needle stage and avoiding large brush pile development under old growth chinquapin and post oaks that are an integral part of the system. I think most people I work with in Missouri are pretty well versed in this old and established process. Well, except for the practitioners from that aforementioned agency.
However, there's a greater benefit to cedar removal projects when there's snow on the ground, and it involves the cleanup of all those cedar boughs and logs. Burning green, freshly cut cedars results in a total burn with no remnant logs and skeletons. And when there's snow on the ground, especially the 4 to 10 inches we've had lately, burning those cedar piles results in very little scarification. With snow and ice on the ground below the green cedar piles, the heat from the fire wasn't even enough to burn the residual leaf litter below. While most cedar removal projects that involve burning brushpiles invariably end up with sacrifice areas that will eventually be recolonized with native vegetation, a lot of sacrifice areas turn into moss patches for at least a few years. From a largescale landscape perspective, these dots on the glade barely make a dent in the overall quality of the glade (though if the glade is particularly small, isolated, and not part of a larger system, these sacrifice burnpile areas can certainly seem like a very destructive impact of cedar clearing). But burn when there is a mound of snow beneath the piles and the burnpile will look like this after the fire with ash settling on leaf litter: