Current theories on the conservation and restoration of forests mask a new strategy for the expansion of industrial timber operations. Forest restoration and carbon sequestration projects are becoming increasingly reliant on the use of silvicultural tools and the application of oversimplified forest development models based on resource extraction. An analysis of forest policy and practice indicate that industrial timber interests have subverted the goals of restoration and carbon sequestration. Forest ecosystems are broadly accepted as the most effective terrestrial carbon sink. However, the sequestration value of primary forests, as opposed to managed timber stands, has been misinterpreted by managers and misapplied in the field. Though younger forests tend to sequester carbon at higher rates than primary forests, total carbon stored in unmanaged forests represents a higher and more consistent value. Restoration of forests, degraded through over-harvesting, is essential for conserving biodiversity. There is, however, a growing trend in the forest restoration community to base management goals around the “working forest” model. This model suggests that pre-harvest stand characteristic can be reinitialized through the continued removal of timber. In order to clarify distinctions between various types of forest management a set of definitions is presented based on the primary objective of each management type.
|Keywords:||Old-Growth, Forest Restoration, Forest Health, Industrial Forestry|
Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Department, San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA
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