The present work describes tree-ring research related to the theory and practice of forest use carried out at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL. The effects of silvicultural practices and other, more indirect, human influence on tree and stand growth are demonstrated using a variety of examples from experiments and studies. Major timber harvestings significantly influence tree competition, stand structure and stand dynamics. Competition pressure in dense closed forests of uniform heights, short-term growth reactions from thinning and release, as well as weather and disease are easily recognizable. Medium to long-term changes in tree and stand growth reflect shifts in forest use, changes in water and nutrient cycles, or dynamics from anthropogenic emissions and depositions. These examples are chosen to illustrate the effects of cultivation on current forest development and to assist the planning of future management practices. The results demonstrate the importance of tree-ring research to understand forest-dynamic processes and as a tool to develop forest management strategies.