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Executive Summary: Forests of the Northern United States

Publications Posted on: May 03, 2012
This executive summary provides an overview of the 200-page report, Forests of the Northern United States, which covers in detail current forest conditions, recent trends, issues, threats and opportunities in the forests in the 20 Northern States. It provides a context for subsequent Northern Forest Futures Project analyses that will forecast alternative future scenarios and their potential impacts on forests and people in the North.

Characteristics of sustainable forest management

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Forests can provide numerous benefits to society today, tomorrow, and far into the future. Many in society seek sustainable forest management to ensure that future generations enjoy those benefits. The foundation of professional forest management is “the use of the natural resources for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time” (Gifford Pinchot 1947).

Summary and Synthesis

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
This chapter discusses some of the interrelationships, interactions, and drivers of change that affect northern forests. The content addresses some of the threats and opportunities identified by Dietzman et al. (2011), and it also addresses findings that emerged from the analysis of conditions and trends. The many issues affecting northern forests are interrelated and so are approaches to achieving desired outcomes.

Criterion 8: Urban and community forests

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Urban and community forests are the trees and forests found in cities, towns, villages, and communities. This category of forest includes both forested stands and trees along streets, in residential lots, and parks. These trees within cities and communities provide many ecosystem services and values to both urban and rural populations.

Criterion 7: Legal, institutional, and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
This criterion focuses on the social context of forests—the laws, policies, administrative rules, and social and economic institutions—that governs forest resource management and use. What society permits or restricts, encourages or discourages all influence the sustainability of forest resources.

Criterion 6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socioeconomic benefits to meet the needs of societies

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Forests provide an array of products and services that maintain and enhance benefits to our society and economy. Benefits derived from forests may be categorized into wood products, nontimber products and services, and ecosystem services.

Criterion 5: Maintenance of forest contributions to global carbon cycles

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Northern forests cover more than 42 percent of the region and are enormous reservoirs of carbon. Through photosynthesis, live trees emit oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide they pull from the atmosphere. As a tree grows it stores carbon in wood above and below ground, and sequestered carbon comprises about half of its dry weight. Dead trees and down logs are also reservoirs of carbon.

Criterion 4: Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Soils are the fundamental resource enabling land to provide a wide array of benefits. Both humans and wildlife rely on soils for the production of life-sustaining nourishment and shelter.

Criterion 3: Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
Forest ecosystem health depends on stable forest composition and structure and on sustainable ecosystem processes. Forest disturbances that push an ecosystem beyond the range of conditions considered normal can upset the balance among processes, exacerbate forest health problems, and increase mortality beyond historical norms. Sometimes forest ecosystems respond to disturbances by returning to the normal range of conditions.

Criterion 2: Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems

Publications Posted on: March 06, 2012
People rely on forests, directly and indirectly, for a wide range of goods and services. Measures of forest productive capacity are indicators of the ability of forests to sustainably supply goods and services over time.