Common Silvicultural Terminologies

Silviculture is the art and science of cultivating forest crops.

According to Toumay and Korstian “Silviculture can be defined as “the branch of forestry which deals with the establishment, development, care and reproduction of stands of timber”.


It is the study of life history and general characteristics of forest trees and crops with particular reference to the environmental factors as basis for the practice of silviculture.

Silvics implies to:

  • The study of trees and forests as biological units
  • The laws of their growth and development
  • The effects of the environment on them


  • To produce the species of economic value
  • To introduce exotic species
  • To create man made forest in place of Natural Forest
  • To raise forest in blank areas
  • To increase the production of fuel and fodder
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Phenology – The science dealing with the time of appearance of characteristic periodic events such as leaf shedding, fruit ripening etc. in the lifecycle of organisms,

Weeding – A tending operation done in the seedling stage in a nursery or in a forest that involves the removal or cutting back of all weeds

Cleaning – A tending operation done in a sapling crop involving the removal or topping of inferior growth including individual of favored species, climbers etc.

Thinning – A felling made in an immature stand for the purpose of improving the growth and form of trees that remain without permanently breaking the canopy.

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Source –

Girdling – Cutting through bark and outer living layers of wood in a continuous incision all-round the bole of tree.

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Silvicultural system – A method of silvicultural procedure worked out in accordance with accepted sets of silvicultural principles by which crops constituting forests are harvested, regenerated and tended. It covers all the activities for the entire length of a rotation or cutting cycle.


Seedling – A plant grown from seed till it attains a height of about 1m.

Sapling – A young tree from the time it reaches about 1m in height till the lower branches begin to fall.

Pole – A young tree usually between 10 and 30cm in diameter at base height (BH)

Tree – A woody plant having one erect perennial stem or trunk at least 30cm dbh and 4m in height. In this stage the rate of height growth begins to slow down and crown expansion becomes marked.

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Sustained yield – The material that a forest can yield annually or periodically in perpetuity.

Stand – A group of trees that occupies a specific area and is similar in species, age and condition.

Canopy – The forest cover of branches and foliage formed by tree crowns.

Virgin Forest – The natural forest uninfluenced by human activities.

Growing stock – Sum (by number or volume) of all the trees in forest or in a specified part of the forest.

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