Evolution of silvicultural thinning: from rejection to transcendence

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  • Authors: Zeide, Boris
  • Publication Year: 2006
  • Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
  • Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-92. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 322-327

Abstract

Our views on a main tool of forestry, silvicultural thinning, have changed greatly since the beginning of forestry over 200 years ago. At first, thinning was rejected as something unnatural and destructive. It was believed that the densest stands were the most productive and any thinning only detracted from maximum growth produced by nature. This philosophy was still dominant during the second stage when the "fathers" of forestry developed the practice of light thinning from below. It took another 100 years to acknowledge the benefit of a less "natural" medium to heavy thinning. During the last 70 years, the consensus has been that, within a wide range of densities, stand growth remains more or less constant. Even better results can be achieved when density increases with age. Heavy thinning at the beginning speeds up growth, whereas higher stocking at the end secures a larger final harvest. The last stage takes the trend of progressively lighter thinning to its logical conclusion: to control density by planting only the trees we intend to harvest at the end of rotation. Wood quality and stem form can be improved by pruning. Specific management recommendations are provided.

  • Citation: Zeide, Boris. 2006. Evolution of silvicultural thinning: from rejection to transcendence. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-92. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 322-327
  • Posted Date: June 17, 2006
  • Modified Date: August 22, 2006
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