5 Silviculture Examples Explained

Silviculture examples are; natural regeneration, seedling-based artificial fertilization, abandoned farmland-forestation, pastoral landscape management, and prairie forestation for timber production.

Each of these examples represents a unique design or mode of implementation, of silviculture system. They also represent unique approaches, contexts and conditions of forestry/forest management.

This article discusses silviculture examples, as follows;



1). Natural Regeneration (as one of the Silviculture Examples)

Natural regeneration is an example of silviculture whereby lost vegetation is replaced by plants that have germinated or grown mostly as a result of natural processes and conditions [1].

It can be effective for spontaneous regrowth and recovery of vegetation that has been lost due to deforestation practices, and other harmful human activities.

Natural regeneration can also be viewed as the ecosystem‘s natural way of achieving sustainability and mitigating resource depletion by replacing renewable resources when they are lost.

It applies mostly to silviculture projects that take place in natural forests, and often needs to be supplemented with human intervention to meet certain specifications.

Natural regeneration is a common example of silviculture in areas with suitable climatic conditions for natural plant growth.

Modification through silvicultural practices like canopy alteration, and thinning; may subsequently be used to adjust the natural growth patterns as preferred.

In regions prone to climate change and its effects such as desertification, this approach to silviculture is barely applicable and rarely used, since significant natural regrowth is not a common (and often not a possible) occurrence in such areas.

Silviculture Examples: Natural Regeneration (Credit: Anne Burgess 2007 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)
Silviculture Examples: Natural Regeneration (Credit: Anne Burgess 2007 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)


2). Seedling-Based Artificial Fertilization

Seedling-bases artificial fertilization (also called ‘artificial regeneration’) is the opposite of natural regeneration, and can be described as a scenario whereby artificial, anthropogenic or human-controlled measures and tools are used to replace lost vegetation, or to introduce new plants into managed forests.

Artificial regeneration is often achieved using seedlings in silviculture and other forestry projects, due to the prominent role of seedlings as vegetative propagation implements [5].

Also, practices to improve, protect and optimize soil, like soil conservation, water conservation, and fertility optimization through organic measures like composting, all fall under artificial regeneration.

These practices can be categorized together and described as ‘fertilization’ practices, since they aim to support the achievement of optimal seedling-germination and plant health.

Artificial regeneration or fertilization, is more common than natural regeneration in silviculture, because of the need to induce and control growth to achieve desired outcomes.


3). Abandoned Farmland-Forestation (as one of the Silviculture Examples)

Abandonment of land is the act and process of terminating human activities (and human occupation) on a given land area; and it has been a more common practice with increase in the rate of environmental degradation and other human-induced environmental problems that reduce land usability, safety and sustainability [2].

For farmlands, abandonment is the termination of agricultural activities; and is usually traceable to decline in the land’s capacity to produce effectively, due to any of various forms of degradation like; pollution, loss of fertility, and erosion.

Degraded farmlands that have been abandoned represent misused or wasted natural resources, and silviculture is one of the means by which such resources can be recovered.

Silviculture may double as a bioremediation and soil restoration measure for abandoned farmlands.

Through silviculture and forestation, these lands are gradually rehabilitated, so that their geographic, geologic, biological and physicochemical conditions are optimized with time, by the activities of forest organisms, and their influence on the environment.

Abandoned farmland-rehabilitation through vegetative means, extends beyond forestation.

Thee abandoned lands may be converted to grasslands, or any other applicable, vegetated ecosystem, depending prevalent climatic conditions.

Also, the practice is versatile, so that its relevance may extend into agricultural concepts like agroforestry and rotational grazing, by the integration of crops and/or livestock into silviculturally-forested, abandoned farmlands.


4). Pastoral Landscape Management

Silviculture can be practiced on pastoral land as part of measures to protect these lands from degradation, and to enhance the growth of forage crops for livestock [4].

Benefits of silviculture for pastoral landscape management (or for landscape management in general) span across aesthetic, economic, socioeconomic, and ecological areas.

Tree planting and maintenance on pastoral lands, can improve water, soil, and air quality.

It can be combined with sustainable agricultural practices like crop rotation, cover cropping, contour farming, and integrated crop-livestock management.

Climate modification and adaptation, are also among the benefits of this practice.


5). Prairie Forestation for Timber Production (as one of the Silviculture Examples)

Prairie ecosystem is a type of grassland that is characterized by mostly temperate conditions, with few trees, dominance of non-woody plant species, and low to moderate annual rainfall levels.

With application of silvicultural principles, prairies can be forested by the introduction of compatible tree species and their effective management.

Generally, the forestation of prairies is not extremely difficult, because the climatic conditions in prairies are not extreme and can allow for survival of some woody plants. However, significant effort must be invested into selecting trees to be cultivated on prairie lands, and to support them in their early growth stages.

In most cases, this type of silviculture is carried out to fill an existing need in terms of timber for use as biofuel, and as an industrial raw material.

Forestation of prairies has been carried out successfully in parts of the world like North America and Europe [3].

Silviculture Examples: Prairie Forestation for Timber Production (Credit: M.O. Stevens 2009 .CC BY-SA 3.0.)
Silviculture Examples: Prairie Forestation for Timber Production (Credit: M.O. Stevens 2009 .CC BY-SA 3.0.)




Silviculture examples are;

1. Natural Regeneration

2. Seedling-Based Artificial Fertilization

3. Abandoned Farmland-Forestation

4. Pastoral Landscape Management

5. Prairie Forestation for Timber Production




1). Boydak, M. (2004). “Silvicultural Characteristics and Natural Regeneration of Pinus Brutia Ten.—A Review.” Plant Ecology 171(1):153-163. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VEGE.0000029373.54545.d2. (Accessed 6 December 2022).

2). Haddaway, N. R.; Styles, D.; Pullin, A. (2013). “Environmental impacts of farm land abandonment in high altitude/mountain regions: A systematic map of the evidence.” Environmental Evidence 2(18). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/2047-2382-2-18. (Accessed 6 December 2022).

3). Kelsey, K. W.; Naugle, D. E.; Higgins, K. F.; Bakker, K. K. (2009). “Planting Trees in Prairie Landscapes: Do the Ecological Costs Outweigh the Benefits?” Natural Areas Journal 26(Jul 2006):254-260. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3375/0885-8608(2006)26[254:PTIPLD]2.0.CO;2. (Accessed 6 December 2022).

4). O’Neill, C.; Lim, F. K. S.; Edwards, D. P.; Osborne, C. P. (2020). “Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy.” Environmental Research Letters 15(10). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abaf87. (Accessed 6 December 2022).

5). Savolainen, O.; Kärkkäinen, K. (2004). “TREE BREEDING, PRACTICES | Breeding and Genetic Resources of Scots Pine.” Biology. Available at: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/TREE-BREEDING%2C-PRACTICES-%7C-Breeding-and-Genetic-of-Savolainen-Kärkkäinen/a34d24b602861777c4b14e01ae9b175c9dfeeb17. (Accessed 6 December 2022).

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