A key prerequisite for productive and ecologically sustainable forests is high-quality forest regeneration, focusing on the species of tree that are most appropriate for each forested area. In planning for forest regeneration, LVM does not reduce the overall size of territories in which coniferous and deciduous trees grow. The forest can be regenerated naturally or artificially.
Natural regeneration means that when an area of forest is cleared, sprouts and seeds from surrounding trees are left behind to grow. Natural regeneration is planned if the law allows for the establishment of productive stands of trees in cleared areas. According to the type of forest, schedules for forest regeneration in Latvia last for three, five and, occasionally, 10 years after the felling of a stand of trees. Natural regeneration is not planned for those types of forest where the regeneration schedule lasts for only three years.
Artificial regeneration of the forest is based on planting of saplings or seeds. The genetic properties of each tree are coded in the seed, and so artificial restoration is based exclusively on select reproductive materials. This promotes and ensures the desired structure of species of tree in those areas where natural regeneration is difficult or impossible.
Planning of forest regeneration involves various types of regeneration, various kinds of species of tree, and various schedules of regeneration. These plans are drawn up at the same time as plans for the felling of the relevant stand of trees.
Forest regeneration can, to a certain extent, be divided up among the following types of forestry work:
- Preparing the soil (this is also done in areas where natural generation with seeds from nearby trees is being planned);
- Planting saplings or seeds;
- Tending to the forest (preventing competition from grasses and shrubs such as raspberry bushes, as well as from other species of tree – mowing these around artificially or naturally regenerated areas).
Forest regeneration by LVM, 2001-2004