The Stand: Revisiting a Central Concept in Forestry

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The stand concept is in question because of a trend toward more complex structures and broad-scale management of many forests. The stand was traditionally a uniform operational unit designed to make management efficient. Stand-level objectives on some ownerships have recently shifted toward increasing within-stand variability through the use of various treatments including multiaged systems, variable retention regeneration methods, or variable-density thinning. The result may be greater heterogeneity within rather than between stands, thus leading to this discussion of the relevance of the stand concept in contemporary forestry. We recognize stands as being the logical operational unit for forestry, but with the flexibility to change in boundary over time due to stand dynamics, through management intent, or to include a variety of different stand structures. As a result, stands may be managed to enhance within-stand variability. A new terminology is not needed nor do stands need to be endlessly split into smaller and smaller units as management creates more and more stand variability. The stand remains the logical operational unit of ecosystem-based forestry on a variety of land ownerships, within the context of multiple scale management.

Keywords: ecosystem management; forest management; forest regulation; landscape delineation; silviculture

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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