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Keywords:

  • formind2.0;
  • logging scenarios;
  • plant functional types;
  • simulation;
  • tropical forest

Summary

  • 1
     Reliable data on the growth and yield of logged-over forest, to determine sustainable cutting cycles, are widely missing for the tropics.
  • 2
     We used the process-based model formind2.0 to analyse the growth and yield of logged-over forest in Venezuela under different logging scenarios over a period of 240 years, and compared results with unlogged stands. The performance of the model was evaluated with a detailed stability and sensitivity analysis.
  • 3
     In the absence of further logging, the logged-over stand approached the stand structure of mature forest in terms of bole volume and basal area after about 50–100 years.
  • 4
     Thirty-year cutting cycles with conventional logging methods and net extraction volumes of 45 and 60 m3 ha−1 cycle−1 did not provide sustainable yields under either of two minimum felling diameters (35 and 50 cm) that were applied. Only the 60-year cutting cycle provided sustainable yields under conventional and reduced-impact logging, with the different minimum felling diameters and a range of net volumes extracted (30–60 m3 ha−1 cycle−1).
  • 5
     With the longest cutting cycle (60 years), bole volume recovered to levels similar to the mature unlogged stand, but the species composition was very different.
  • 6
     Scenarios with reduced-impact logging provided a significantly higher timber volume than under conventional logging. The conservation of forest resources will only be possible with long cutting cycles (at least 60 years) in combination with reduced-impact logging.