New treatments require learning by both the practitioner/prescriber
(forester, silviculturist, wildlife manager, riparian specialist,
ecosystem manager, conservationist). Some potential problems:1.Existing
policies or regulations may not be appropriate with new practices.
Although policies or guidelines may be changed in the future, they
can be difficult to work with in the short term. For example, reporting
systems for even-aged management may not lend themselves well to uneven-aged
systems. Most organizations will eventually change the reporting system
to better reflect what is being accomplished on the ground but it
may be frustrating in the short term.
starting a new type of treatment, practitioners have a limited information
base to work with so they may be tempted to use a "cookbook"
approach to the same treatment each time. It is important to recognize
that most variable density prescriptions are based on guesses and
should not be applied to large land areas. Adaptive management will
be most successful if prescriptions are varied so we can better learn
what the advantages and disadvantages are of each one.
New practices usually require more information (asking questions,
reading, going on tours, training), monitoring, and more record keeping.
There is no easy way around this, but managers would be wise to plan
for the training and learning time that will be required.
Most variable treatments are inherently more expensive to apply than
uniform ones (primarily because they require covering more ground
to get the same amount of work done. Increases in cost can also result
from being low on the "learning curve" but those cost increases
should be short-term in nature.
Contractors may be unfamiliar with practices so costs may be high,
mistakes may be made or a contractor may underbid a job and later
default on the contract. Changes in contracts from traditional practices
will require more effort to ensure that the contractor or potential
contractor understands what is required.
treatments will require new ways to specify and monitor work. This
is especially important when the work will be contracted as there
are more limited opportunities for changing the specifications.
Increasing "gaps" in forest stands may result in greater
Most growth and yield models were based on uniform stands with one
or a few species and a limited number and range of treatments. Most
of these models assume the treatments are applied uniformly. Thus,
existing models may not be easy to use or give the correct results
for treatments applied non-uniformly.
Larger scale of application of some treatments may result in less
uniformity for comparisons (this may make it difficult to test or
easily compare alterative treatments).
Variation in marking trees within a unit may increase the sample
size needed for a timber cruise (or different approach such as stratified
sampling will be needed).
Selecting individual trees for release may make them more susceptible
to damage or loss; however, loss of these trees is more important
as you have invested more money in them. For example, in a pre-commercial
thinning operation it will cost more to release a tree to be open-grown
than to select it as a future crop tree because more trees have to
be cut to create the open-grown condition. However, the open-grown
trees may also be more susceptible to bear damage. Other hazards such
as windthrow or top breakage may also be greater to widely-spaced
trees, especially shortly after treatments.
Creating gaps or more open areas may encourage colonization, growth,
or retention of exotic plants.