Basic Forest Management Principles


  • Forests are dynamic. Other than natural growth and succession, change agents include: forest fires (leading to plant succession), windstorms, diseases, insects, overly dense tree stands, forest thinning and reforestation.
  • As a forest matures, individual trees become more or less dominant while others may become overtopped. A tree's position in a stand has a significant effect on its growth rate and susceptibility to change agents.
  • Where trees grow often depends on the characteristics of that tree species. Not all tree species will grow in the same area.
  • Different species respond differently to different silvicultural treatments. Silviculture is the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests.
  • Basal area is the area of a tree cross-section at breast height (4-1/2 ft.). This includes the bark and is expressed in square feet as DBH (diameter breast height).
  • Agroforestry involves afforestation and reforestation for windbreaks, increased crop yield, increased water storage, wildlife enhancement, road protection and enhancing the landscape.
  • In applying ecological principals to forest management on private land, the owner's goals and management objectives must be kept in the forefront. A landholder's management activities are driven by his or her objectives.