study and practice of the maintenance and growth of forests.
Silviculture is the practice of controlling the growth, composition, health, and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values.
The name comes from the Latin silvi- (forest) + culture (as in growing). The study of forests and woods is termed silvology. Silviculture also focuses on making sure that the treatment(s) of forest stands are used to preserve and to better their productivity.
Generally, silviculture is the science and art of growing and tending forest crops, based on a knowledge of silvics, i.e., the study of the life history and general characteristics of forest trees and stands, with particular reference to locality factors. More particularly, silviculture is the theory and practice of controlling the establishment, composition, constitution, and growth of forests. No matter how forestry as a science is constituted, the kernel of the business of forestry has historically been silviculture, as it includes direct action in the forest, and in it all economic objectives and technical considerations ultimately converge. The focus of silviculture is regeneration, but more recently, recreational use of forestland has challenged silviculture as the primary income generation from forests, due to increasing recognizance of forestland's use for leisure and recreation.
Some of the distinction between forestry and silviculture is that silviculture is applied at the stand level and forestry is broader. For example, John D. Matthews says "complete regimes for regenerating, tending, and harvesting forests" are called "silvicultural systems".
Adaptive management is common in silviculture, where forestry can include natural, conserved land without a stand level management and treatment being applied. A common taxonomy divides silviculture into regenerating, tending, and harvesting techniques.