The stand: Revisiting a central concept in forestry

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


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.

Publisher's Statement

© 2013 Society of American Foresters. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.5849/jof.12-114

Publication Title

Journal of Forestry