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Variable retention is a relatively new silvicultural system that
retains forest structural elements for at least one rotation in
order to preserve environmental values associated with structurally
complex forests. Some examples for environmental values are forest
cover connectivity, soil stabilization, microclimate under retained
trees, habitats associated with live or dead trees and species
diversity due to habitat preservation, and wildlife corridor
preservation. Variable retention also aids in emulation of natural
disturbances by leaving behind some residual structure from
previous stand which is typical for stand replacing disturbances.
Traditional silviculture systems such as clearcut, patch cut,
shelterwood, etc. are focused on maximizing timber production and
future regeneration of the trees.
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