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Functioning ecosystems are basic principle

PRO SILVA regards sustainable forest ecosystems as the proper basis of economic sustainability. Protection and production are both important to society. For sustainability in the broadest sense, continuing and optimal productivity is only possible if the protective function remains intact. This precludes production strategies that ignore the protective function.

PRO SILVA supports the management of forests and the use of renewable resources of timber.

3. Production

Elements

With regard to the general principles of sustainability, the following are essential elements of the productive function:

  • Maintenance of the soil fertility
  • Guaranteed continuity of the naturalness of forest ecosystems and timber production
  • Maintenance of the natural energy and mineral cycles.
Methods

As methods for achieving the functioning of these elements PRO SILVA recommends:

  • Continuous forest cover to protect soil productivity
  • Full use of natural dynamic forest processes
  • Adding value by selection felling and tending at all stages of development
  • Maintaining growing stock at an optimal level
  • Working towards a balance on as small a scale as possible between increment and harvesting in each management unit (i.e. in each compartment)
  • Increase forest stability, and consequently reduce production risks, through stabilisation of single trees and groups of trees
  • Paying attention to the function of every single tree in tending and harvesting
  • Avoidance of clearcuts and other methods which destroy forest conditions
  • Abolition of rotation age as the instrument for determining when a tree should be cut
  • Prioritization of tending functions to ensure forest renewal (or tending has priority over regeneration)
  • Undertaking continuous renewal of the forest as an integral part of forest tending
  • Spontaneous forest renewal and forest development, through moderate single tree selection harvesting and group selection harvesting separated by long regeneration periods of regeneration, involving
  • use of natural regeneration,
  • use of natural stem number reduction (biorationalisation, also referred to as nature automation)
  • promote harvesting methods which do not harm the soil or the stand
  • Use of appropriate machinery, which suits the structure and features of the forest
  • Minimise the use of additional materials (fertilisers, plant protection materials) only to the essential function of restoring the carrying capacity of the soil
  • Restoration of wildlife species population densities to levels which are in balance with the carrying capacity

Tending and harvesting should be the main features of management, and these should not be unduly influenced by the need to obtain regeneration

Optimizing results

Favourable economic returns from PRO SILVA management rely on following the principle of optimisation:

  • The production of a higher proportion of large timber of good quality compared to other form of forestry as well as a significantly smaller proportion of harvest expended on more expensive small timber production allows for more favourable harvest returns through higher average selling of the cutting.
  • The use of natural stem-density reduction and natural regeneration (biological rationalisation), facilitated by the favourable effects of tree cover, good growing conditions and the genetic wealth of the parent stand, diminish tremendously the costs of tending operations.
  • Superior structural stability against storm events, due to optimal crown and stem architecture reduces the impact of storm damage and minimises restoration costs. This facilitates better adaptation to market fluctuations and the individual needs of forest owners.
  • The excellent resilience against storm damage results in higher rates of natural reconstitution at low costs.

All of these factors culminate in the favourable enhancement of economic returns under such management as well as its economic efficiency per unit of area over time.

Integrated forest management for resilience and sustainability across 25 countries

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