In forestry, stocking is a quantitative measure of the area occupied by trees, usually measured in terms of well-spaced trees or basal area per hectare, relative to an optimum or desired level of density. A desirable level of stocking is often considered that which maximizes timber production, or other management objectives.
Stocking can be expressed in either absolute or relative terms. Absolute terms include the basal area or trees per acre. Relative terms measure the density against a reference level, which is determined by dominant tree species, the plant community, and site index.
Stand density is not the same as stocking. See stand density index for the difference.
- "Glossary of Forestry Terms in British Columbia" (pdf). Ministry of Forests and Range (Canada). March 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- United States Forest Service (ed.). "Chapter 9 - Timber Stocking Guides and Growth Predictions". FSH 2409.17 Silvicultural Practices Handbook. United States Department of Agriculture.
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