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What is Forestry Management?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Forestry management is a toolkit of techniques, concepts, and strategies used to balance economic, social, and forestry requirements into the administration of large forests. Forestry is the study of trees and the related ecosystems. As a branch of forestry, this discipline is the practical acknowledgment of these pressures and the development of standards to balance conflicting requirements.

There are two primary aspects to forestry management: administrative and scientific. The administrative aspect is focused on supporting the economic and social needs of forestry. The scientific aspect is focused on the exploration and understanding of the forest ecosystem and the impact of the forest in the global environment.

From the administrative perspective of forestry management, it is generally accepted that logging is necessary to support local economies and to provide raw materials for a range of products and needs. The enforcement of strict rules surrounding this activity and working in partnership with the forestry industry is essential to avoiding widespread forest devastation, but also allowing the forest to be cut down.

The techniques used include replanting requirements, limiting the amount of logging in a specific area, the methods used to extract the logs from the forest, and more. Adherence to these rules can be monitored using global satellite images, which track the status and size of the forest canopies. Legal enforcement is less common, but still an excellent motivator for compliance.

From a scientific aspect, determining how much of a forest can be cut down without irreparably harming the forest is essential. The time frame of the replanting efforts, along with the success or failure of those efforts plays a huge role in the forest management procedures. Research into this area is growing rapidly, as the long-term impacts for a specific area are large.

The increased public profile of the environment and concerns for the future of the planet and the impact on the utilization of natural resources has significantly increased the profile of forestry management. People who are interested in a career in this field should complete a post-secondary training program in forestry, forest management, or environmental science. These programs are widely available from local community colleges or universities.

In 1992, the Forest Principles were adopted as the international standard for sustainable forest management. This high-level document was then used to develop a detailed set of criteria and indicators of forestry management that is used around the world. These standards are designed to provide a framework for the forestry industry, while providing focus for researchers.

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Discussion Comments
By elizabeth23 — On Aug 20, 2011

@Emilski- I don't know much about it. Although I bet you'd need to get a bachelor's degree in biology, I'm not sure about master's degrees. I knew a few people in college interested in that, and I don't remember if they needed graduate degrees.

I remember when I was little I spent about a week thinking I wanted to be a forest ranger. It just seemed so peaceful and natural. I'm kind of glad I changed my mind, though, because I sort of hate hiking and camping in the woods, which I imagine foresters have to do.

By Emilski — On Aug 19, 2011

Can anyone here give me some information about getting a forestry management degree? I am about to start my senior year of high school, and am trying to decide what I am going to do.

I really love science, but I don't know if I would like working in a lab. I would much rather be outside. All of the colleges with forestry programs that I'm finding around me are at the major state schools. Is this normal, or are there programs at community colleges in some places?

If I decided to do forestry, what would a normal curriculum look like, and what would I be learning? Also, I assume the Forest Service is a popular route, but what other types of forestry management jobs can you get?

By jcraig — On Aug 18, 2011

Is anyone here familiar with forestry best management practices? I have been reading some information about them, and I'm surprised they don't get more attention.

In general, they are techniques or guidelines that foresters and loggers have to follow when they are dealing with a forest. Apparently one of the most common problems when logging is soil erosion. Most states have best management practice laws that say how many trees should be left next to streams and rivers and how the forest has to be repaired after the logging is done.

I'm curious as to how strictly these laws are enforced, but I at least think it is great that there are logging management procedures in place to try to protect the forest as much as possible.

By cardsfan27 — On Aug 17, 2011

@JimmyT - You are correct that logging in general is misunderstood, but in a lot of cases, people can do some really bad things to a forest.

I don't think the problem lies necessarily with foresters not doing the correct management planning that is needed for a piece of land. I think a lot of the problem comes from private landowners and companies who don't know how to manage their land in a sustainable manner.

A big forest of trees can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and logging companies are out to make money. A lot of landowners will sell their land without having a forester give them a management recommendation. In addition, loggers don't always follow the laws that are in place. These things together lead to big patches of woods that are in poor condition and aren't as productive as they could be.

By JimmyT — On Aug 16, 2011

I think logging has a bad reputation, but in reality, what would we do without wood? We are lucky that Earth has a material that we can cut down over and over again and have it grow back.

Granted, not cutting forests the right way can have detrimental impacts, but that is why foresters go to college to learn the right and wrong ways to go about forest management.

I live in the southeastern United States where pine plantations are extremely common. I still think it is amazing the advancements that have been made in the world of forestry that we can grow trees efficiently enough to supply all of our paper and wood needs.

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