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Table 1 Definitions of different forest management regimes excluding unmanaged forests. Common synonyms are also given

From: What are the effects of even-aged and uneven-aged forest management on boreal forest biodiversity in Fennoscandia and European Russia? A systematic review

Forest management regime



Even-aged forest management

Clear-cutting, clear-felling

Management method that produces relatively homogenous forest structures. Forest regeneration is achieved by natural regeneration, sowing or planting and stand development controlled by thinnings and regeneration felling. During the regeneration felling in the clear-cutting method most trees in the area are removeda. In case of natural regeneration, individual seed trees are left in the area (i.e. seed tree cutting is performed)

Leaving retention trees

Management method almost similar to clear-cutting, but some individual trees (dead or alive) or tree groups are left standing during the regeneration fell. Leaving retention trees aims at maintaining some of the key structures of native forest ecosystems to enhance the structural diversity of the harvesting area and provide habitat continuity for species

Even-aged or uneven-aged forest management

Shelterwood cutting

During shelterwood cutting large number of mature trees are left in the area to regenerate the area naturally and to provide shelter (less harsh environmental conditions) for the new growth. It involves cutting trees in a series of cuttings to allow existing seedlings to grow and new ones to establish themselves before mature trees are removed. Mostly used to create even-aged stands but shelterwood system can be used to create uneven-aged stands if some of the shelter trees are maintained over a long regeneration period

Uneven-aged forest management

Continuous cover forestry, selection system, selective cutting/felling, selection cutting/felling, partial cutting/felling, gap cutting/felling, patch cutting/felling

Management method where some of the trees are removed in one harvest. Forest regenerates through the trees left standing. The forest structure is maintained heterogenous over time by harvesting. This can be achieved by single-tree selection (selective felling) or group selection (gap felling)

  1. aLeaving retention trees became more common in the end of 1990s, and nowadays it is common practice in Finland, Sweden and Norway