More than four decades of cumulative silvicultural experience in Venezuelan forests represents a significant progress towards sustainable forest management in the tropics. Here, based on an extensive literature review, expert opinions and discussions with forestry stakeholders in the country, we offer a broad overview of the history and current state of silvicultural practices in Venezuela’s natural production forests. Despite important research advances, several factors including institutional and policy limitations, along with the lack of sound technical guidelines have hampered a more positive influence of silvicultural research for sustainable forest management across the country’s managed forests. On an industrial scale, after an often poorly planned selective logging, and despite increasing evidences against for, a strong prominence of assisted natural regeneration (i.e., enrichment planting) characterized the post-logging management compared to other approaches. With very few exceptions, using artificial regeneration did not produced the expected outcomes in terms of tree growth, expected timber yield and survival. Finally, amidst the current political and economic upheaval in Venezuela, a broad range of lessons and policy recommendations is proposed including the strengthening of research on silvicultural options for multiple use of forests and for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Part of the book: Silviculture