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Forest restoration is forward thinking

Formally Refereed
Authors: R. Kasten Dumroese, Brian J. Palik, John A. Stanturf
Year: 2015
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Source: Journal of Forestry. 113(4): 430-432.


It is not surprising to us that the topic of forest restoration is being discussed in the Journal of Forestry. It is a topic frequently bantered about in the literature; a quick search in Google Scholar for "forest restoration" generates more than 1 million hits. A significant portion of the debate centers on the search for succinct, holistic, universally accepted terminology, and we confess that we have recently contributed to that effort (Stanturf et al. 2014a, 2014b). Given the lack of consensus on definitions for each word, forest and restoration, it should not be surprising that once combined, the discipline struggles to find consistent terminology, and the resulting discussions can be confusing. As we see it, the problem is that forest restorationists (those discussing the theory and those engaged in the practice) often seek precise black and white terminology for every gradation of a topic that spans an infinite spectrum and combination of biological, ecological, and societal possibilities; thus, the definition of forest restoration, whether we like it or not, varies depending on context and is continuously evolving as esoteric points are discussed. In our recent articles (Stanturf et al. 2014a, 2014b), we spend considerable time dissecting, organizing, and defining terminology. Such constructs are a necessary evil to vigorously debate ideas but probably leave practicing foresters, land managers, policymakers, and the general public confused. The reality is that restoration, no matter how it is defined, is intimately and undeniably linked with management: you cannot have restoration, even passive restoration, without management (Zahawi et al. 2014). Although it may not be politically correct to say so, forest restoration is similar to forest management in that both rely on silviculture although sometimes forest restoration requires extraordinary measures (Stanturf et al. 2014b). Approaching it from a silvicultural perspective puts pragmatism back into play.


forest restoration, forest management, silviculture


Dumroese, R. Kasten; Palik, Brian J.; Stanturf, John A. 2015. Forest restoration is forward thinking. Journal of Forestry. 113(4): 430-432.