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Forest management may be viewed as applied forest ecology. Trees and other vegetation in a stand are managed in ways that reflect and capitalize on the ecological capabilities and tolerances of different species and ecosystems. Forest sites are managed to utilize and sustain their productive capacity and in ways that recognize the ecological association between survival and growth of different trees and site characteristics. Management practices often reflect an understanding of the ecological responses of forests to disturbance events that remove trees or other vegetation.

  [photo] Little Carp River Watershed, Ontonogon County Michigan
Little Carp River Watershed, Ontonogon County Michigan (Charles Goebel)

This section highlights ecological characteristics of forests and forest vegetation in many ways, as well as ecological aspects of forest management. In Forest Management 101, we provide general introductory material on the history of forests in the Great Lakes region and the importance of site, species, and disturbance regimes when formulating management examples and prescriptions.

Within guides on specific tree species, we provide more detail on ecological characteristics of that species, the sites where it occurs, and characteristic natural disturbance regimes. Moreover, we provide information needed to develop management approaches that focus on the ecology of that species and associated sites. Finally, much of the information on silviculture and forest health involves important ecological insight needed to manage the species effectively.

Foresters often refer to ecological information related to individual tree species as the Silvical characteristics of a tree. The silvics of almost all tree species in North America are described in detail in a Forest Service publication titled, "Silvics of North America." This basic Silvical information is vital in the management of all North American tree species.


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North Central Region Forest Management Guide: A cooperative project of the USDA Forest Service and University of Minnesota.
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Last Modified:  05/25/2006