Forest Management Overview
Forestry developed more than 200 years ago in Europe and Asia in response to scarcity of needed natural resources in the form of wood for building and fuel. Forestry has evolved over time to reflect the full suite of ecosystem services that a forest can provide including clean water, biodiversity and habitat, recreational opportunities, and wood products. At the most basic level, forestry is about the future and thus management decisions must be based on considerations for both current and future values derived from the forest.
Forest management involves the integration of all the elements of forestry including: forest ecology, silviculture, harvest and maintenance operations, forest monitoring and inventory, fiscal and market conditions, recreation use, and societal values and considerations. Forest managers must strive to balance elements from these areas based on the long term capacity of the forest to sustain human use and the goals of the land owners and larger social community.
The term sustainability has become main stream in current society. The ethical and practical application of this concept is at the heart of forestry. Sustainable forestry is often described as having 3 integrated components: ecology, society/community, and economy. Often these elements are held to be equal to one another as equivalent parts of a circle or as individual legs of a stool. Forestry, as practiced in the SFMA, holds ecological sustainability as the foundation of the other two elements given the basic fact that the forest ecosystem will persist without human involvement, but human communities and economies cannot be sustained in the absence of a functional forest ecosystem that provides the benefits of clean water and other products. This diagram provides a visual conceptualization of this definition of sustainable forestry. .