The stand: Revisiting a central concept in forestry

Kevin L. O'Hara, Linda M Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The stand concept is in question because of a trend toward more complex structures and broad-scale management of many forests. The stand was traditionally a uniform operational unit designed to make management efficient. Stand-level objectives on some ownerships have recently shifted toward increasing within-stand variability through the use of various treatments including multiaged systems, variable retention regeneration methods, or variable-density thinning. The result may be greater heterogeneity within rather than between stands, thus leading to this discussion of the relevance of the stand concept in contemporary forestry. We recognize stands as being the logical operational unit for forestry, but with the flexibility to change in boundary over time due to stand dynamics, through management intent, or to include a variety of different stand structures. As a result, stands may be managed to enhance within-stand variability. A new terminology is not needed nor do stands need to be endlessly split into smaller and smaller units as management creates more and more stand variability. The stand remains the logical operational unit of ecosystem-based forestry on a variety of land ownerships, within the context of multiple scale management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Ecosystem management
  • Forest management
  • Forest regulation
  • Landscape delineation
  • Silviculture

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