Ecosystems and people: managing forests for mutual gains.Author(s): Valerie Rapp
Source: Science Update 8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p
Publication Series: Science Update
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (1.0 MB)
DescriptionThe debate over forest management has often portrayed management choices as tradeoffs between ecological and socioeconomic values. Scientists at Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station, along with their colleagues at universities and national forests, decided to look scientifically at the question: "Can we as a society produce wood products and other forest values in an environmentally acceptable and sustainable manner?"
They translated the philosophical question into this research proposition:Commodity production (timber and nontimber forest products) and the other forest values (biodiversity, fish, and wildlife habitat) can be simultaneously produced from the same area in a socially acceptable manner.
Research in the Pacific Northwest shows promising ways to expand the framework - alternatives for managing forest ecosystems that avoid "either-or" choices. At the scale of individual stands, young-growth forests can be managed for some wildlife and biodiversity values as well as for wood. Yet an individual stand, whether young or old, cannot provide habitat for all species. Thus some values are compatible only at the watershed or landscape scale, an area large enough to have stands of many ages and types. At this larger scale, scientists have developed new tools for landscape-scale analysis that develop information on options and reveal the large-scale patterns of past management. Changing and conflicting social values mean that the social aspects of compatible management can be the most challenging. Research can offer managers new strategies for working with the public to come up with mutually acceptable solutions.Compatible forest management looks for ways to sustain human uses of forests and biodiversity in forests. The challenges are huge, but science offers suggestions on opportunities to manage natural resources for mutual gains.
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CitationRapp, Valerie. 2004. Ecosystems and people: managing forests for mutual gains. Science Update 8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p
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