Emulating natural disturbance regimes: an emerging approach for sustainable forest managementAuthor(s): M. North; W Keeton
Source: In: Lafortezza, R., J. Chen, G. Sanesi, and T. Crow (Eds.), Landscape ecology: Sustainable management of forest landscapes, Springer-Verlag Press. The Netherlands: p. 341–372
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (3.62 MB)
Sustainable forest management integrates ecological, social, and economic objectives. To achieve the former, researchers and practitioners are modifying silvicultural practices based on concepts from successional and landscape ecology to provide a broader array of ecosystem functions than is associated with conventional approaches. One such innovation is disturbance-based management. Under this approach, forest practices that emulate natural ecological processes, such as local disturbance regimes, are viewed as more likely to perpetuate the evolutionary environment and ecosystem functions of the forest matrix. We examine how this concept has been applied in three U.S. forest types: Pacific Northwest temperate coniferous, Western mixed-conifer, and Northeastern northern hardwood forests. In general, stand-level treatments have been widely used and often closely mimic historic disturbance because forest structure and composition guidelines have been well defined from reconstructive research. Disturbance-based landscape management, however, has not yet been closely approximated in the three forest types we examined. Landscape implementation has been constrained by economic, ownership, safety, and practical limitations. Given these constraints we suggest that disturbancebased management concepts are best applied as an assessment tool with variable implementation potential. Silviculture practices can be compared against the frequency, scale, and level of biological legacies characteristic of natural disturbance regimes to evaluate their potential impact on ecosystem sustainability.
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CitationNorth, M., and W. Keeton. 2008. Emulating natural disturbance regimes: an emerging approach for sustainable forest management. In: Lafortezza, R., J. Chen, G. Sanesi, and T. Crow (Eds.), Landscape ecology: Sustainable management of forest landscapes, Springer-Verlag Press. The Netherlands: p. 341–372
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