iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Optimizing silviculture in mixed uneven-aged forests to increase the recruitment of browse-sensitive tree species without intervening in ungulate population

Andrej Ficko (1)   , Joerg Roessiger (2-3), Andrej Bončina (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 11, Issue 2, Pages 227-236 (2018)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2567-011
Published: Mar 12, 2018 - Copyright © 2018 SISEF

Research Articles

An increase in ungulate abundance in Europe in recent decades has raised concerns for the survival of browse-sensitive tree species in its early life history stages. A possible strategy for mitigating the browsing-induced mortality of natural regeneration is to optimize silviculture. We used matrix population models parameterized for three types of Abies alba - Picea abies - Fagus sylvatica forests (3,183 permanent sample plots from three study areas in Slovenia, 39,717 ha), and a non-linear optimization to: (i) schedule optimal timing and intensity of logging in the next 100 years to increase the recruitment of Abies alba without intervening in the population of ungulates; and (ii) examine the influence of different natural recruitment rates on the potential for mitigating recruitment failure through silviculture optimization. The optimal management has required species-, growth- and diameter-specific logging, including intensive logging of large-diameter Abies alba in the first decades and strict conservation of recruits. The potential for mitigating recruitment failure through optimization increased progressively with natural recruitment rate and progressively at a decreasing rate with time. Optimizing silviculture was effective for maintaining Abies alba in stands exposed to low or moderate browsing pressures. Faced with chronic ungulate herbivory, forest managers should primarily focus on the reduction of herbivory and to a lesser extent on optimizing silviculture.


Continuous Cover Forestry, Optimization, Natural regeneration, Recruitment, Abies alba

Authors’ address

Andrej Ficko
Andrej Bončina
University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources (Slovenia)
Joerg Roessiger
Institute of Forest Management, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising (Germany)
Joerg Roessiger
National Forest Center - Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 96092 Zvolen (Slovakia)

Corresponding author



Ficko A, Roessiger J, Bončina A (2018). Optimizing silviculture in mixed uneven-aged forests to increase the recruitment of browse-sensitive tree species without intervening in ungulate population. iForest 11: 227-236. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2567-011

Paper history

Received: Jul 27, 2017
Accepted: Jan 12, 2018

First online: Mar 12, 2018
Publication Date: Apr 30, 2018
Publication Time: 1.97 months

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