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  • What is Silviculture?
  • Silviculture Intensities
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  • Silvicultural Intensities

    Silvicultural practices can be grouped into three general categories which relate directly to the amount of effort and financial expenditure made in renewing the forest. In Ontario we typically refer to the three common silvicultural intensities as extensive, basic, and intensive.

    Extensive silviculture relies on natural regeneration to renew the forest. Natural regeneration occurs when trees are established in the harvested area from seed or root sucker growth from the original stand or neighbouring areas. This is the cheapest form of silvicultural renewal. Extensive silviculture typically does not produce rapid renewal or maximum future wood volumes. Extensive silviculture can only be attempted on certain sites where the soil conditions and seed source availability would make such a treatment feasible.

    Basic silviculture typically involves some sort of medium intensity silviculture application. In northwestern Ontario basic silviculture typically refers to some form of mechanical site preparation followed by seeding or planting. In either case future tending of the crop to control competing vegetation or to achieve a desired spacing would not be common. This is a form of silviculture, which does not maximize the future wood volumes from the stand, but it does allow for more control of the final stand composition and generally higher volumes than extensive treatments.

    Intensive silviculture relies on forms of artificial regeneration such as seeding or planting to re-establish the next forest stand. When intensive silviculture is applied the goal is generally to maximize the future wood volumes and shorten the time to the next crop. Individual tree growth is maximized by controlling competing vegetation around the desired crop trees as well as achieving an optimal spacing. Historically, intensive silviculture has been linked with monocultures. In some cases this is still true but modern research has shown that mixedwoods managed intensively can meet or exceed the volumes produced from monocultures. Thinning treatments are often applied to stands that are managed intensively. Often the timber produced from intensive silviculture is of a greater diameter and can have a higher value depending on the final product.

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