Natural Regeneration Systems

The success of management systems based on natural regeneration depends on the number of individuals of desirable species left after harvest. The species managed should be abundant, have a wide diameter distribution, and good quality timber. Diameter increments of managed species can be increased by selectively favoring desirable species through refinement and liberation treatments to reduce competition in the stand. Refinement and liberation are used in most systems of natural forest management. Refinement stimulates growth by eliminating the overstory of undesired species and individuals. It consists of the eradication of unwanted vegetation (weeds and defectives) to promote complete utilization of the site by high quality trees of the preferred species. Liberation is the freeing of desirable species from competitors by removing vines, lianas, and other plants that impede growth.

If wildlife conservation is a goal of natural forest management, care must be taken not to eliminate species that are a food source for wildlife. Also, defective trees are often habitat for certain birds like woodpeckers. Given the complex set of mutualisms that exist in tropical forests (described in Chap. 2), it would seem that too much refinement and liberation could "sterilize" the tropical forest by removing important food sources and habitat for

Table 5.1. Systems used in management of tropical forests worldwide

Type of method

Name of management

Nomenclature

Country of origin

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