Silvicultural systems were developed to reflect a sense of conservation, or to provide for predictable future yields of goods and values from a stand even while harvesting some of those goods now. Although long-term sustainability may become an ethical issue for individual landowners and a political issue on publicly owned lands, this concept is central to the practice of forestry itself.
A silvicultural system attempts to link this concept of sustainability to individual stands. When we prescribe a silvicultural system, we must think long-term since that is what these systems were designed for.
Conceptually, foresters develop a unique silvicultural system for each forest stand. Yet all silvicultural systems include three basic component treatments or functions: regeneration; stand tending; and harvesting.