Current issue: 54(2)
European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests have a long history of coppicing, but the majority of formerly managed coppices are currently under conversion to high forest. The long time required to achieve conversion requires a long-term perspective to fully understand the implication of the applied conversion practices. In this study, we showed results from a long-term (1992–2014) case-study comparing two management options (natural evolution and periodic thinning) in a beech coppice in conversion to high forest. Leaf area index, litter production, radiation transmittance and growth efficiency taken as relevant stand descriptors, were estimated using both direct and indirect optical methods. Overall, results indicated that beech coppice showed positive and prompt responses to active conversion practices based on periodic medium-heavy thinning. A growth efficiency index showed that tree growth increased as the cutting intensity increased. Results from the case study supported the effectiveness of active conversion management from an economic (timber harvesting) and ecological (higher growth efficiency) point of view.
Forest management practices have deployed during the centuries very differently in different regions. The geographical as well as other nature related factors influence them heavily. During the first half of 19th century was shelterwood felling much used practice especially in Prussia. Meanwhile the clearcutting with planting the seedlings became also more popular. The method is still widely used in many countries. Becoming more popular the clear cut and planting practice changed the modus operandi of forestry from close-to-nature to economically-oriented.The article discusses based on literature the most important developments of the forest management practices, especially regarding felling and regeneration methods. The article concludes with the view that usage of boarder selection felling as well as continuous forest management system are not suitable for small-scale forestry (on small private estates) on in Finland common barren sites. On more fertile soils the boarder selection felling would give good results and could be recommended also for more use. However, the bad market conditions make the more intensive forest management impossible in most parts of Finland. More research is needed in order to find best felling methods for fertile small-scale private forests.