Silviculture for the 21st century--objective and subjective standards to guide successful practiceThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Silviculture is increasingly being applied in ways that go beyond traditional timber management objectives. Across the National Forest System, on other public lands, and increasingly on private lands as well, foresters are working with professional colleagues and landowners to develop innovative silvicultural prescriptions designed to meet diverse resource management objectives. Some of those innovations involve treatments, timing, or intensity that are not supported by published or ongoing research studies. This can lead to problems over time, especially if the treatments fail to achieve their intended goal. To maintain trust and credibility with other resource professionals, as well as with the landowners they serve, silviculturists must act according to a simple philosophy--say what you’ll do, do what you said, and watch what you did. A set of ten quantifiable metrics and subjective tools is suggested as a guide to implementing that simple philosophy. Taken collectively, this set of tools and metrics comprise a subjective decision support framework for silviculturists, especially as practices are proposed that go beyond scientific support in the literature. The degree to which these elements should be quantified depends upon the complications that will arise from failure to detect whether a prescription has been properly prescribed and implemented.