Table 1. Major decisions involved in forest management, the associated silvicultural operations, and the link to sustainability indicators.

Decision and subsidiary elements
(and phase of development)
Silvicultural operation Affected stand variable and sustainability criteria
1. Naturalness of tree species composition (I–IV)
Species composition in relation to the potential natural vegetation
Share of site-adapted tree species
Share of introduced tree species

Selection of tree species

Biological diversity;
Tree species composition
2. Tree improvement (I)
Use of genetically improved material
Use of genetically modified organisms

Selection of tree genotypes

Biological diversity;
Stand genetic diversity
3. Type of regeneration (I)
Planting, seeding, natural regeneration, or coppice

Stand establishment

Stand density (Growing stock); Age structure/ diameter distribution;
Tree species composition
4. Successional elements (I-IV)
Tolerance of successional elements, i.e., pioneer and nurse species or accompanying secondary tree species

Stand establishment
Tending
Thinning

Tree species composition
Density pattern
5. Machine operation (I–IV)
Machine movement/driving on forest soils
Extent of forest opening for machine access

Fertilizing
Liming
Soil preparation
Thinning
Final harvest

Forest ecosystem health and vitality;
Site condition
6. Soil cultivation (I)
Mechanical, physical, and chemical site preparation
Drainage

Soil preparation
Drainage

Site condition
7. Fertilization / Liming (I–IV)
Fertilization to increase yield (amelioration)
Compensate for nutrient extraction and re-establishment of natural biogeochemical cycles

Fertilization
Liming

Site condition
8. Application of chemical agents (I–IV)
Extent of application of pesticides, herbicides

Pest control

Tree species composition
9. Integration of nature protection (I–IV)
Tolerance of biotope/habitat trees
Tolerance of deadwood
Biotope protection within stands

Thinning
Final harvest

Biological diversity;
Tree species composition
Density pattern
Age structure
10. Tree removals (III–IV)
Extent of tree components extracted in thinning or harvesting operations

Thinning
Final harvest

Site condition;
Carbon stock
11. Final harvest system (III–IV)
Extent of area cleared by final harvest operation

Final harvest

Density pattern
Age structure/ diameter distribution
12. Maturity (III–IV)
Felling age in relation to the potential life span of a given tree species

Final harvest

Biological diversity;
Age structure
Phase of stand development the critical decision predominantly refers to.
I “regeneration”, II “young”, III “medium” and IV “adult”.