Object of Silviculture
Silviculture is improved limitation of nature. In nature, we find a large number of species coming up at one place. Some individuals die out of competition, some attain top canopy while others remain at lower levels. Silvicultural factors are usually controlled by economic considerations. If there are a large number of species, perhaps a forester would select some of them which are economically more important. Also the forester may remove the trees which are likely to die out of suppression. Since our knowledge of economic and natural factor is not perfect, it is not always possible to determine how far to divert from purely natural course. In nature, succession is a process in which one species or group of species is replaced by another species or group of species and a stage comes when more stable species appears. The study of silviculture enables the foresters to know the whole course of natural succession on a given site and also the manner and the speed of existing crop being replaced or altered. This knowledge helps the foresters to determine where and how to control the succession. The important objectives of silviculture can be summarised as under:
1. Control of Crop Composition and Production of Species of More Economic Value:
Under natural conditions, a large number of species form the crop inferior or less valuable species may flourish at the expense of the desirable species. The control is exercised by two ways:
i. By removing or cutting inferior species
ii. By creating more favourable conditions for the regeneration and growth of desirable species.
2. Control of Stand Density, for Production of Maximum Volume:
In the natural forests, trees are likely to grow either too dense or too open. If the trees are too dense-the wood production is distributed over large number individuals and none of them grow to the optimum size. If the trees are too less, the production would be less, though individual trees may grow sufficiently with higher dimensions. If the trees are too less, they will not be able to utilise the site, effectively and may be even inadequate to regenerate the area. Both these conditions are not good for maximum wood production. Silviculture helps to maintain or retain sufficient number of trees per unit area so that by optimum use of soil, maximum wood production is ensured. Substantial increase in production can be ensured by thinning dense prop through salvaging the trees otherwise these trees would have died.
3. Afforestation of Blank and Under Stocked Areas:
There is a large area of forests which is blank or under stocked due to fire, encroachments, illicit fillings, or some natural causes. These areas are however, suitable to bear tree growth. Silviculture helps us to afforest these areas with suitable trees by planting or by seedling. Silviculture guides to know the best period of seed collection, nursery technique, plantation details, etc. to complete afforestation.
4. Production of Quality Timber:
In unmanaged forests, because of intense competition or little competition, quality timber is not produced. A large number of trees are malformed, defective and sometimes diseased. Proper control of damaging agencies can increase the production. Insects,fungi,fire,wind, grazing,lopping, etc. which affect the quality of the timber are controlled by suitable Silvicultural techniques and methods.
5. Control on Rotation Period:
Rotation is counted period in years from regeneration to harvesting. In unmanaged forests, if there are more number of trees, the growth of individual tree is slow consequently, they take longer period to reach to harvestable size. The knowledge of silviculture helps to regulate the density of the crop at various sizes / ages which helps to reach exploitable size much faster. Thus, rotation of a crop can be reduced by regulating the density of the crop. It also helps in identifying short rotation crops.
6. Facilitate Management and Use of Forests:
In unmanaged forests, good forests exist in difficult areas, where it is difficult to manage and harvest the timber. In managed forests, it is easy to plant the growth and distribution of forests so that the produce is used efficiency and economically. It is possible to arrange the forest in different localities in such age classes and species composition that management becomes easy.
7. Creation of Man Made Forests and Introduction of Exotics:
Silvicultural techniques help us to replace wholly or partly, natural forests by man mad forests of the same species or by other species. If the existing, forest does not contain valuable and the desirable species. It can be planted with such important species. If the forest consists of desirable species but it is not regenerating properly, it can be harvested and regenerated artificially. Identification of suitable exotics depending upon geographical location, raising trail, plantations, selection of suitable exotics species, perfecting the nursery and plantation techniques of the exotics are some of the silvicultural techniques which help in introduction of exotic species on a large scale.
8. Protection of Site and Intangible Returns:
The main object of silviculture is to provide maximum protection to the site so that intangible returns from the forests are ensured. Important intangible returns include, moderating climate, increasing precipitation, reducing soil erosion and floods conserving soil and water increasing water yields providing shelter to a large number of wild animals, etc. Silviculture helps to understand the requirement of a tree and its effect on the site. The species, which are likely to deteriorate the site, are discarded. Only such species which afford complete protection to the site and ensure continuous flow of intangible benefits are preferred.