JOURNAL

On the importance of Sustainable Forestry

Forests cover nearly 1/3 of land globally. That’s 4.06 billion hectares. In other words, there is around 0.52 ha of forest for every person on the planet. More than half (54 percent) of the world’s forests are in only five countries –the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China.
Sustainably-managed forests meet the needs of wildlife while supporting livelihoods and providing many other ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and flood risk mitigation. Forests are so important for so many reasons that they should not be overexploited or poorly managed to the detriment of any of these finely-balanced interests.

The Rainforest Alliance defines sustainable forestry from an ecological perspective as “the extent to which silvicultural practices mimic nature’s patterns of disturbance and regeneration”. There are many, often conflicting, objectives to balance when managing a forest sustainably, including timber for building materials or wood fuel, and biodiversity.

Many sustainable forestry practices can protect or encourage forest regeneration. They include putting up a fence to exclude deer, controlling weeds and other plants, and removing some trees to allow more sunlight to reach down into the forest.

Forestry is an art, science and practice of studying and managing forests and plantations and related natural resources. Modern forestry generally concerns itself with assisting forests to provide timber as raw material for wood products, wildlife habitat, natural water quality regulation, recreation, landscape and community protection, aesthetically appealing landscapes, and a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Sustainable forestry is about protecting the future of our biosphere, making sure we ‘ have fresh air to breath, and clean water to drink. It is also about making a global economy sustain its needs for wood in the present as well as the future by adopting strategies that promote replenishment, jobs and a healthier greener environment, offering more forest space for biodiversity. It is also about ensuring the future of our forests, enhancing our wildlife habitat, and protecting water.

 

Sustainable forestry includes three main points:

  1. Forest management process that addresses the entire ecosystem rather than trees alone.
  2. Forest management practices that provide goods and services from a forest ecosystem without degradation of site quality and without deducting in the yield for goods and services over time.
  3. The practice of forestry in a manner which meets the needs of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

These aspects have many benefits such as cleaner air, conservation of soil, enhancing wildlife habitat quality, protection of water quality, recreational activities and wood utilization improvement. Ideally, increasing productivity provides us with more forest products and reduces the amount of forestland that must be devoted to timber production.