Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Forest Plantations

Formally Refereed
Authors: D. Zhang, J.A. Stanturf
Year: 2008
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Encyclopedia of Ecology, 5 vols. pp. 1673-1680.


Between the extremes of afforestation and unaided natural

regeneration of natural forests, there is a range of

forest conditions in which human intervention occurs.

Previously, forest plantations were defined as those

forest stands established by planting and/or seeding in

the process of afforestation or reforestation. Within plantations,

there is a gradient in conditions. At one extreme

is the traditional forest plantation concept of a single

introduced or indigenous species, planted at uniform

density and managed as a single age class (the so-called

monoculture). At the other extreme is the planted or

seeded mixture of native species, managed for nonconsumptive

uses such as biodiversity enhancement. To

further complicate matters, many forests established as

plantations come to be regarded as secondary or seminatural

forests and no longer are classed as plantations. For

example, European forests have long traditions of human

intervention in site preparation, tree establishment, silviculture,

and protection; yet they are not always defined as

forest plantations.


Zhang, D.; Stanturf, J.A. 2008. Forest Plantations. In Sven Erik J rgensen and Brian D. Fath (Editors-in-Chief), Ecosystems. Vol. 2 of Encyclopedia of Ecology, 5 vols. pp. 1673-1680. Oxford: Elsevier.