Silviculture: A Complete Guide

by | Aug 22, 2023 | Conservation, Forest Management

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Silviculture is a way of controlling forest growth, health, diversity, and quality to fulfill a variety of demands and values. The phrase is derived from the Latin words ‘Silvi’ (forest) and ‘culture’ (growth).

Silviculture is the art and science of developing and maintaining forest crops based on silviculture, which entails researching the life cycle and general features of forest trees and stands (with special reference to locality factors).

In silviculture, adaptive management is attractive because it allows forestry to add natural and protected areas without resorting to stand-level management and treatment.

Objectives of Silviculture

The objectives of silviculture are:

  • The major aim of silviculture is regeneration; however, due to a rising acknowledgment of forestland’s utility for recreation and leisure, recreational use of forestland has recently challenged silviculture as the primary source of revenue from forests.
  • Thinning, harvesting, planting, pruning, planning to burn, and site preparation are all examples of silvicultural treatments. The goal of intermediate treatments (thinning) is to improve growth and quality.
  • To produce the most timber or other produce per acre and year possible.
  • To get the maximum potential financial return on investment.

Forest Regeneration

Forest regeneration is the process of replenishing tree cover by planting new trees, either naturally or artificially, shortly after the previous stand or forest has been destroyed. The technique, species, and density are all chosen to achieve the landowner’s purpose.

“Human-assisted natural regeneration” refers to the formation of a forest age class following harvesting by selection cutting, shelter (or seed-tree) harvest, soil preparation, or limiting the size of a clear-cut stand to ensure natural regeneration from adjacent trees.

Natural Regeneration

Natural regeneration makes use of the parent stand’s reproductive ability to bring about the formation of a new forest generation, which arises from dropped seeds, coppice shoots, or root suckers. Natural regeneration is linked to the deliberate operations of forest managers in commercial forests.

Artificial Regeneration

Artificial regeneration is a type of forest management that is done on purpose. Planting of seedlings and transplants grown in forest nurseries, as well as the spreading of seeds and fruits, creates new stands.

Forestry is currently attempting to combine these two approaches of natural and artificial regeneration, always taking individual requirements and potentials of regenerated stands into mind. The tree species chosen for reforestation must be compatible with the natural circumstances of the area. They are specified in the forest management plan, which must be followed by all foresters and is also authorized by the nature conservation authority. The forest manager’s job is to select the proper tree species composition, i.e., site-specific tree species and the percentage of their mixing in the regenerated stand, based on natural circumstances.

Use of Forest Types in Silviculture

Even-aged and uneven-aged silviculture systems are the two primary types of silviculture systems used in the Forest. On the Forest, the two-aged system is also implemented, albeit to a lesser extent. Shelterwood regeneration procedures that are irregular have been applied in the two-aged system.

Even-aged Silviculture system

Even-aged management is in which the dominating trees all grew at about the same time and, after a period of protection as shelterwood, developed in full light without considerable border competition. Regardless of size, such a stand is evenly aged.

The age difference between trees constituting the primary canopy level of a stand-in even-aged management is generally less than 20% of the level of a stand that has attained the appropriate age or size for regeneration and is harvested.

Uneven-aged Silviculture System

Uneven-aged management refers to a circumstance in which trees of varying ages are mixed in a forest or stand. A minimum range of 10 to 20 years is commonly recognized by convention, while for rotations of not less than 100 years, a minimum range of 25% of the rotation may be acceptable.

Selection Trees are removed singly or in groups based on age, merchantability, health, seed production capabilities, and potential to enhance volume and quality in single-tree or group selection. The selection of a single tree results in relatively narrow apertures. The vacancies in group selection might be as large as two acres. Single-tree selection favors species that can thrive in the shade (shade-tolerant) over those that need direct sunshine for reproduction.

Tree Morphology of Forests

In silviculture Tree has the following morphology:

  • Above the ground: The crown
  • The stem
  • Below the ground: The root

The crown

The crown, or upper branchy section of a tree above the bole, is described as “the upper branchy part of a tree above the trunk.” Crown development, defined as “the extension of the crown measured in crown length and crown breadth,” determines the crown’s size. The crown of the tree determines the tree kind, which in turn determines the forest type. A tree is said to be deciduous if it loses its leaves for part of the year. Evergreen is a perennial plant that is never completely devoid of green foliage, with the old leaves remaining until a new set emerges.

The Stem

In trees, stem, bole, and trunk are equivalent; however, bole is occasionally used to refer to simply the lower portion of the stem up to a point where the primary branches are given off, i.e., as a synonym for clear or clean bole, which is defined as ‘the section of the bole that is free of branches.’ Taper is defined as a reduction in the diameter of a tree or log’s stem from the base upwards.

Epicormic branches are defined as “branches originating in clusters from dormant or adventitious buds on the trunk of a tree or on older branches when exposed to adverse influences such as excessive light, fire, or suppression.

Buttresses occur in the trunks of several species, such as Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, Bombax ceiba, Pterocarpus dalbergioides, Terminalia myriocarpa, and others.  They’re outgrowths that develop vertically above the lateral roots, connecting the stem’s base to the roots. Fluting is characterized as “irregular involutions and swellings on the bole immediately above the basal swell” on the bole.

The Root

Trees with shallow roots are those whose root system does not reach deep enough into the soil to protect them from the wind. Deep-rooted trees, on the other hand, have roots that reach deep into the soil.

Roots formed from portions of the plant other than the radical or its subdivision are known as adventitious roots. There are two types:

  • Prop roots
  • Stilt Roots

Mycorrhiza may be characterized as a structure formed by the combination of a modified rootlet with fungal tissue.’ Symbiosis is a wide term that refers to a range of tight connections between two or more types of organisms, especially when they appear to be mutually beneficial.

Maintenance and Improvement of Forests

Forests require management throughout their early stages of development, from establishment through the point where an acceptable yield emerges. To guarantee the establishment of high-quality forest crops in silviculture, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary.

Some of the practices done to ensure the maintenance and improvement of forests are:

Fencing: Young trees might be vulnerable to browsing for many years after planting, depending on the species. Browsing may stunt tree development, and it might take years for trees to become strong and tall enough to overcome its effects. Fencing is used to keep animals out of new woods.

Protecting from pests and disease: Crops are being monitored for any epidemics that may arise, and proper action is being taken. Irish woods are relatively pest- and disease-free, apart from defending plants against the giant pine weevil. Sometimes trees are also fallen to ensure that pest or disease does not affect other trees in a forest.

Trending: A number of chores must be completed between the time a crop is planted and the first harvesting operation (first thinning) to facilitate access to the crop and improve tree shape and wood quality. The term “tending” refers to all of these activities.

Thinning: Thinning is perhaps the most critical operation carried out between canopy closure and the final harvest in forests managed for wood production. Growth is centered on the better trees that remain after the smaller, weaker, and lower-quality trees are removed. As a result, a bigger volume of higher-quality, larger-diameter timber is taken from a crop, commanding a higher price from sawmills.

Also Read: Algal Blooms: What Impact Do They Have On The Environment?

 

Author

  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.

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