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    Author(s): R. James Barbour; Andrew H.H. Wong
    Date: 2001
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. GTR-PNW-520. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 60 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (784 KB)


    The concept of sustainability in the context of forest management holds a different meaning to almost every group that espouses it. Many of these differences arise because of the varying goals and objectives of those who promote the idea of sustainable forest management. When discussing this topic, the question of "sustainable of what" must be answered before reaching a common understanding of goals and objectives. In general, a sustainable approach to forest management uses innovative strategies to conserve biodiversity, improve the balance among alternative forest values, and maintain healthy ecosystems. It is often also expected to retain the aesthetic, historical, spiritual, and other qualities of the land. Various silvicultural techniques may be used to alter the developmental trajectory of existing forests to provide this range of values. In some cases, management strategies include removing wood as a primary goal. In other cases, wood is removed as a secondary objective during treatments to improve forest health, restore wildlife habitat, create recreational opportunities, mitigate impacts of forest insects and diseases, or alter the vegetative mix for increased biodiversity. Forest management strategies that aim to produce wood on a sustainable basis take many different approaches. A common model is one where tenets of conservation biology are implemented on parts of the managed landscape, often employing networks of reserves, or near reserves, on the areas considered most biologically sensitive, and management for wood occurs on adjacent, less sensitive, and often less productive lands. Another less common approach is to attempt to mix production of wood and other resource values on the same piece of ground in an attempt to manage ecosystem processes. In these cases, forest managers must either have the trust and confidence of members of the public who advocate sustainable forest management or have sufficient autonomy to work counter to public opinion. These, and two types of sustainable forest management strategies are usually planned for large landscapes and judged by using broad indicators of success. They are; however, implemented using a series of small projects, often at the stand or watershed level. It is important to be able to link activities at varying scales and through time in order to understand the implications of how activities at each scale affect outcomes at other scales, and ultimately how such practices collectively influence sustainable wood production.

    The Sustainable Production of Forest Products Research Group (5.12) of IUFRO Division 5 was chartered in response to interest demonstrated by delegates at the 1997 all Division 5 Congress in Pullman Washington, USA. The group's chapter emphasizes research on local, regional, and global issues regarding sustainably produced forest products. The purpose of the Research Group is to provide a forum for researchers who study the sustainable production of wood and other forest products. The group is intended to increase the awareness of Division 5 members in issues concerning sustainable forestry and to foster interactions between Division 5 members and other IUFRO Divisions or other organizations with an interest in sustainable forestry. The scope of topics addressed by this group will include but not be limited to questions regarding certification of production, life cycle analysis, characteristics and quality of wood products from sustainably managed forests and the economic contribution of wood products to sustainable forestry.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Barbour, R. James; Wong, Andrew H.H., tech. eds. 2001. Proceedings of IUFRO Division Five research group 5.12 Sustainable production of forest products 2000. Gen. Tech. Rep. GTR-PNW-520. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 60 p


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    Sustainable forest management, wood products, forest certification, ecosystem management

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