Natural Disturbances and Forest Management: Interacting Patterns on the Landscape

  • Lee E. FrelichEmail author
  • Kalev Jõgiste
  • John A. Stanturf
  • Kristi Parro
  • Endijs Baders


The main tenets of forest health management are to simultaneously maintain productivity and all native species over time, which will in turn maintain ecosystem services provided by the forest. Natural disturbances oppose the stable flow of materials, while removals of timber short-circuit the flow of organic materials to the deadwood pool and reduce the average age of stands and trees across the landscape. It is likely that natural forests possess some level of redundancy with respect to the amount of deadwood and older trees and stands that are needed to maintain forest health, making it safe to remove timber products from the forest. Although this safe level of harvest is not exactly known, using practices such as close-to-nature forestry or best management practices with regard to structural features left after harvesting can ensure adequate residuals and help maintain forest resilience to disturbance. Furthermore, natural and human disturbances are not totally additive because, by chance, some stands are harvested before they are disturbed by fire or wind, making stand and tree-age distributions somewhat resilient to human disturbance. Harvesting stands and trees over a range of ages in the forest matrix of the landscape, thus minimizing truncation of stand and tree-age distributions due to harvest, combined with a system of reserved/reference forests to serve as a baseline for the effects of forest management, is probably the best way to create resilient forests and maintain adequate habitat for native species at all spatial extents and productivity over time.


Biodiversity Biological legacy Close-to-nature forestry Forest health Forest resilience Forest structure Reference ecosystem Salvage harvest 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee E. Frelich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kalev Jõgiste
    • 2
  • John A. Stanturf
    • 3
  • Kristi Parro
    • 2
  • Endijs Baders
    • 4
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaCenter for Forest EcologySt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Forestry & Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  3. 3.Center for Forest Disturbance Science, US Forest Service Southern Research StationAthensUSA
  4. 4.Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”SalaspilsLatvia

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