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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The changing culture of silviculture

Achim, Alexis; Moreau, Guillaume; Coops, Nicholas C.; Axelson, Jodi N.; Barrette, Julie; Bedard, Steve; Byrne, Kenneth E.; Caspersen, John; Dick, Adam R.; D'Orangeville, Loic; Drolet, Guillaume; Eskelson, Bianca N., I; Filipescu, Cosmin N.; Flamand-Hubert, Maude; Goodbody, Tristan R. H.; Griess, Verena C.; Hagerman, Shannon M.; Keys, Kevin; Lafleur, Benoit; Girona, Miguel Montoro;
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Changing climates are altering the structural and functional components of forest ecosystems at an unprecedented rate. Simultaneously, we are seeing a diversification of public expectations on the broader sustainable use of forest resources beyond timber production. As a result, the science and art of silviculture needs to adapt to these changing realities. In this piece, we argue that silviculturists are gradually shifting from the application of empirically derived silvicultural scenarios to new sets of approaches, methods and practices, a process that calls for broadening our conception of silviculture as a scientific discipline. We propose a holistic view of silviculture revolving around three key themes: observe, anticipate and adapt. In observe, we present how recent advances in remote sensing now enable silviculturists to observe forest structural, compositional and functional attributes in near-real-time, which in turn facilitates the deployment of efficient, targeted silvicultural measures in practice that are adapted to rapidly changing constraints. In anticipate, we highlight the importance of developing state-of-the-art models designed to take into account the effects of changing environmental conditions on forest growth and dynamics. In adapt, we discuss the need to provide spatially explicit guidance for the implementation of adaptive silvicultural actions that are efficient, cost-effective and socially acceptable. We conclude by presenting key steps towards the development of new tools and practical knowledge that will ensure meeting societal demands in rapidly changing environmental conditions. We classify these actions into three main categories: re-examining existing silvicultural trials to identify key stand attributes associated with the resistance and resilience of forests to multiple stressors, developing technological workflows and infrastructures to allow for continuous forest inventory updating frameworks, and implementing bold, innovative silvicultural trials in consultation with the relevant communities where a range of adaptive silvicultural strategies are tested. In this holistic perspective, silviculture can be defined as the science of observing forest condition and anticipating its development to apply tending and regeneration treatments adapted to a multiplicity of desired outcomes in rapidly changing realities.

Published in

2022, volume: 95, number: 2, pages: 143-152

Authors' information

Achim, Alexis
Laval University
Moreau, Guillaume
Laval University
Coops, Nicholas C.
University of British Columbia
Axelson, Jodi
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Barrette, Julie
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP)
Bédard, Steve
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP)
Byrne, Kenneth E.
University of British Columbia
Caspersen, John
University of Toronto
Dick, Adam R.
Natural Resources Canada
D'Orangeville, Loic
University of New Brunswick
Drolet, Guillaume
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP)
Eskelson, Bianca N.
University of British Columbia
Filipescu, Cosmin N.
Natural Resources Canada
Flamand-Hubert, Maude
Laval University
Goodbody, Tristan R. H.
University of British Columbia
Griess, Verena C.
ETH Zurich
Hagerman, Shannon M.
University of British Columbia
Keys, Kevin
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables
Lafleur, Benoit
University of Quebec
Girona, Miguel Montoro (Girona, Miguel Montoro)
University of Quebec
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Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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