- Watanabe, Sadamoto
The Tokyo University Forest, University of Tokyo
- Saski, Satohiko
Department of Forestry, University of Tokyo
Forest managers need new approaches for maintaining high stand volumes while keeping forests continuously productive and economically profitable. The Silvicultural Management System (SMS) accomplishes these objective by increasing large-sized trees for periodic harvest, and continuously maintaining stand volumes at their highest possible levels. This system takes advantage of the diversity in growth, vigor, and longevity of dominant trees from a wide range of tree species found in natural forest ecosystems. Under the SMS developed at the Tokyo University Forest in Hokkaido, 13-17% of the stand volume is harvested at a cutting cycle of 8-10 years by removing the oldest mature trees. Residual stand volumes are maintained at about 70-80% of the levels found in natural old-growth stands. This removal of the oldest trees keeps the stands in a continuously healthy and productive state. The cutting level is planned to ensure a sufficient harvest to cover the construction costs of a necessary high-density forest road network that provides the great logging efficiency and limited maximum yarding distances. This form of selection cutting has proven to be highly productive, surpassing even the production realized under clear cutting. Well-managed cuttings under SMS improve the quality and quantity of the timber resource, with particular emphasis upon premium-quality hardwoods. Guidelines are given for individual tree selection cutting to produce premium-quality hardwoods, and based upon a high-density forest road network. The value of this high-quality timber makes such low-volume logging operations profitable. The SMS also maintains a favorable forest ecosystem for diverse wildlife and flora, and several endangered or threatened wildlife species that depend upon less dense mature forests occur in SMS forests. Managed forests with high-volume stocking also serve as an effective carbon dioxide sink.