Forestry and forest management
Definition (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Forests are both sources and sinks for carbon. Forest management therefore has the potential to be a means to either increase or decrease forest-based carbon storage. Forestry is a practical science concerned with creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner that meets societal goals. Forest management involves the regeneration, management, utilization, and conservation of forests to meet goals and objectives of society while maintaining the productive potential of the forest. The products, services, and values obtained from a forest include wood, water, wildlife, recreation opportunities, food products, aesthetic beauty, and many others.
A central tenet of forestry is sustainability—ensuring that the products, services, values, and inherent productivity of the resources are sustained over time. An old concept in forestry is sustained yield, meaning that the amount of resources removed from a forest is equal to the amount grown or produced in that forest. This concept has traditionally been most used to define the limits of sustainable timber production: No more timber should be removed from the forest than is grown in any given cycle. Similar concepts apply to the production of wildlife, grasses for forage or livestock, and nontimber ecosystem services such as berries, floral greenery, mushrooms, and so on.
Forest stands in which trees are roughly the same age are...
(The entire section is 382 words.)
Significance for Climate Change (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Forestry also involves the management of fuels and their arrangement in forest stands. Forest fires occur over broad areas every year in both temperate and tropical forests and result in massive carbon emissions. Insects and pathogens represent another potential hazard to forests that may increase fuels and fire hazards, lead to large-scale carbon emissions, and reduce the ability of the forest to meet other needs. Forests that are resistant to disturbance present an opportunity to conserve carbon on a large scale. Forests with natural functions and processes, endemic levels of insects and pathogens, and normal levels of biodiversity are said to be healthy. Regardless of specific objectives for any forest land, maintenance of forest health is a common, overriding objective for managed forests.
Forests store large amounts of carbon in living, above-ground stems, branches, and foliage; below-ground root structures and fine roots; dead, woody objects, such as logs, decomposing foliage, and twigs; and soil. Forest management activities affect these components and therefore affect a site’s carbon balance. A clear-cut harvest will remove all stems but will typically not remove branches, foliage, some stemwood, or any below-ground components. A selection treatment to create a multiaged stand structure would remove a smaller number of trees. Other regeneration methods that remove intermediate amounts of trees...
(The entire section is 534 words.)
Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Freer-Smith, P. H., M. S. J. Broadmeadow, and J. M. Lynch, eds. Forestry and Climate Change. Oxfordshire, England: CABI International, 2007. An edited volume of twenty-eight chapters covering carbon sequestration, policy issues, climate change effects on forests, soil carbon, and implications for forest policy.
Kohm, K. A., and J. F. Franklin, eds. Creating a Forestry for the Twenty-first Century. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997. Twenty-nine chapters present ecological foundations for forest ecosystem management and the concepts related to its silvicultural, landscape-level, and human dimensions.
Puhe, J., and B. Ulrich. Global Climate Change and Human Impacts on Forest Ecosystems. Ecological Studies 13. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 2001. A fundamental treatment of climate change effects, covering a range of ecological issues and including a chapter on forest management.
(The entire section is 122 words.)