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CCF shelterwood system

Schematic representation of a CCF/group shelterwood systemSchematic representation of a CCF/group shelterwood systemIntroduction

The Shelterwood System has been for centuries the main silvicultural system across continental Europe for the Schematic representation of a CCF/group shelterwood systemproduction of sawlog.

Under this system, and following decades of progressive re-spacing and thinning, the trees in the stand are brought towards a uniform target sawlog size. At this stage and usually over a period of 10-15 years, the stand is felled over a number of interventions while a new cohort of trees is regenerated in the partial “shelter” of the remaining trees.

The removal of the canopy trees can be carried out as follows:

  • uniformly – “uniform shelterwood”
  • by groups – “group shelterwood”
  • by strips – “strip shelterwood”

The new trees in the resulting new forest can range in age somehow but eventually merge into a uniform structure and the cycle continues. 

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Prescriptive, fairly straightforward management
  • Most sawlog production harvested towards the end of the rotation
  • Tree cover maintained over time


  • Can be expensive to manage / replace early regeneration and tending
  • Susceptible to deer browsing in the early stages
  • In general, offers limited forest biodiversity features due to its uniform nature
  • Lag time in timber production following canopy removal