The tree species composition of silver fir and beech forests has changed in space and time due to a number of direct and indirect natural and anthropogenic causal factors. Forming silvicultural guidelines, therefore, requires a sufficient understanding of the ecological, historical, economic and general environmental factors that influence silver fir-beech forests. In this paper, we present a synthesis of four research projects carried out in Dinaric silver fir-beech forests in the last decade: 1) regeneration ecology in small and medium canopy gaps; 2) stand response to intermediate wind disturbance in the old-growth silver fir-beech Perućica forest; 3) long-term changes in tree species composition of old-growth forests in South East Europe; and 4) interdependence between regeneration and silvicultural systems.The aim of the paper is to show the role of silver fir in the development of silver fir-beech forest, and to highlight the processes that lead to its coexistence or exclusion. Research on the ecology of regeneration suggests that silver fir regenerates better on special microsites (e.g. coolersites with more soil moisture, CWD, high rock coverage, lower pH of the soil, poor light conditions). In medium sized gaps beech is dominant, while silver fir establishes itself later under the young beech canopy. Our research did not confirm the hypothesis of better regeneration success of silver fir in larger canopy gaps in managed forests. Repeated inventories from forest reserves in Slovenia and South-Eastern Europe show that silver fir declined in the last fifty years due to a variety of causes, primarily from air pollution and ungulate browsing. In Slovenia in particular, a drastic reduction of the share of silver fir occurred rapidly. Comparisons with South-Eastern Europe suggest that a wide range of regeneration strategies of silver fir in Slovenia failed because of high densities of ungulates.