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Diversification of stand structure

Diversification of standard structure is often quoted as a way to spread risks from a range of potentially damaging impacts. How this is achieved is very much dependent on management objectives and site location.

Significant reforestation in the inter war period and after the Second World War resulted in significant tracts of single age forests with limited species diversity. Forest design planning and the effects of gales have subsequently resulted in diversification of age structure. However large areas of single age conifer plantations continue to be managed as clear fell systems.

Increasingly, forest managers are recognising the potential benefits of continuous cover forestry and close to nature systems, which are considered as providing:

  • increased stability to the impacts of wind storms;
  • natural regeneration and improved microclimate for young trees;
  • reduced vulnerability to pests and diseases;
  • visually attractive woodland.

A considerable body  of evidence and guidance is available to guide practitioners. The links on right of this page lead to further information.

 Forestry Commission staff are given operational specific guidance through 'Operational Guide Booklets'(OGB). OGB7, managing continuous forests, and other FC OGB's, can be ordered via this link.

Financial support for Continuous cover forestry, is available via the EWGS. Please click on this link