Contemporary forest planning has tasked managers with developing goals associated with resistance and resilience. In practice, silviculturists use forest structure and tree species composition to characterize goals and desired future conditions, write prescriptions, and monitor outcomes associated with resistance and resilience. Although rarely discussed in the exploding literature relating to forest resistance and resilience, silvicultural regeneration methods are important and underutilized tools to meet these goals. We propose alternative silvicultural systems for building resistance and resilience to two common large-scale bark beetle disturbance agents in the Intermountain West, United States: mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) and spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis Kirby). Shelterwood, and shelterwood-with-reserves, silvicultural systems provide the desirable facilitative characteristics of a mature overstory on maintaining advance reproduction and the establishment of new cohorts of desirable tree species. These also allow the timely regeneration of large treatment areas necessary to rapidly promote desired future conditions in the face of inevitable disturbance. When implemented proactively, regeneration treatments allow silviculturists to take advantage of currently existing vegetation for the creation of age class and tree species diversity. In general, these examples illustrate the need for proactive planning for regeneration in response to any disturbance where desired future conditions include particular species. Furthermore, we argue that timely silvicultural interventions that focus on regenerating trees may be a key factor in achieving goals relating to resilience to specific disturbance types. Waiting until after the disturbance has occurred could result in the lost opportunity to establish desired species composition or stand structure—and may well result in a considerable restoration challenge.
Long, J.N.; Windmuller-Campione, M.; DeRose, R.J. Building Resistance and Resilience: Regeneration Should Not be Left to Chance. Forests 2018, 9, 270.