Sustainable Forestry Partnership
at Oregon State University
Definition. Sustainable forestry is the conservation
and management of forests coupled with technological and institutional
change that ensures attainment of human needs for present and future
generations. Sustainable forestry conserves forest and water resources,
promotes productivity enhances plant and animal diversity, is environmentally
non-degrading, scientifically appropriate, economically viable, and
socially acceptable. (Adapted from FAO 1991)
SFP Mission. Promote innovation in sustainable forestry
and integrate this innovation broadly into both policy and practice
SFP Vision. The Sustainable Forestry Partnership integrates
ecological, social, and economic principles to conserve forests and
maintain their productivity now and into the future without degrading
the environment. Sustainable forestry will change the face of forestry
through its research, education and outreach programs that emphasize:
(1) new ways to collaborate among all forestry stakeholders, (2) protection
of forest ecosystems at all scales time and space, and (3) viable long-term
forest products and equitable outcomes.
Principles of Sustainable Forestry
Ecological. Foresters must protect, maintain and,
when necessary, restore the aesthetics, vitality, structure and functions
of the natural processes of the forest ecosystem and its components
at all landscape and time scales. This includes a holistic approach
to research and management planning with long-term objectives that:
Protect or restore surface and groundwater
quality and quantity, including aquatic and riparian habitats
Maintain or improve natural processes of soil fertility, productivity
Balance and diversity of native species and their genepools,
including flora, fauna fungi, and microbes
Safeguard rare, threatened, and endangered species and habitat
Preserve ancient forests
Asses, reduce and eliminate adverse environmental impacts of
forest management, such as from the use of artificial chemicals
and pesticides, exotic species, and genetically engineered organisms
Social. Foresters must develop and use innovative
links among managers, scientist, decision-makers and the various public
stakeholders about the values and the impacts of their activities to
determine appropriate and acceptable forest management practices. These
links should be:
Participatory—high degree of
power sharing among those involved
-decision making—all stakeholder opinions are involved
Collaborative--building in coordination and communication
-bringing together new and different groups, scientists, and individuals
-avenue for dialogue and communication
-dialogue and dispute resolution
-innovative teaching methods
-provocative, cutting edge topics
Economic. Foresters must recognize and work toward
viable, long-term markets and other outcomes for timber and other forest
products. These outcomes should be:
-strengthen and diversify economy
-current and future generations
-respect for the land and landowners
Outputs—recreation, timber products, etc.
-optimization not maximization
-scale dependence: local to global assessment
Comparison of current and sustainable forestry
|1. Biological and human environments are seen as
separate spheres of interest. Biological and social components are
studied separately. Human centered view of the world.
1. Biological and human environments are seen
as one sphere of interest. Biological and social components are
as parts of one complex ecological system. Activities are consistent
with a bio-centered view of the world.
|2. Complex systems are too difficult to be studies
as wholes and can be understood through a study of the parts.
2. Complex systems must be studied as wholes and
cannot be fully understood through a study of separate parts.
Approaches need to be holistic, generalist, and rely on synthesis.
|3. Research is based on a project driven analytical
process. Forest plans and environmental impact statements are the
3. Ecological system (biological and human) viability
driven analytical process. Research is driven by need to understand
how systems change in order to remain viable.
|4. Low priority given to understanding the role of
external forces and influences on forest management. Management
is seen as localized and influenced by local systems.
4. A conscious attempt is made to understand the
role of external ecological and social forces on forest management
decisions. Impacts of local, regional, national, global decisions
and events on forests are to be studied. Recognition of interactive
effects is vital.
|5. Impact assessments are local in nature. Environmental
and social impact statements refer only to geographically local
5. A conscious attempt is made to understand the
impacts of forest management decisions on external biological
and social systems (local, regional, national, global). Recognition
of cumulative impacts is vital.
|6. Environmental resources are infinite and renewable.
Research directed at understanding “wise use” and sustained
||6. Environmental resources are finite. Limits of
systems must be understood.
|7. A relatively short-term (10 years) planning frame
is most practical.
7. A relatively long time frame is necessary for
understanding of generational and cumulative effects.
|8. Planning is based on a slow rate of change in
forest technology and demand for forest products and services.
8. Faster rates of change in forest technology,
demand for forest products and services, and ecological changes
must be taken into account.
|9. Professionalism often leads to resistance to changing
public demands and professional primacy in decision making arena.
9. Recognition that more decisions about forests
are being made in public arenas. Increasingly lower forest-professional
primacy in decision-making.
|10. Professionalism often leads to resistance to
changing public demands and professional primacy in decision making
10. Professional stewardship includes responsiveness
to changing societal demands and expectations.
|11. Values implicit, seen as givens.
11. Values explicit and conscious.
|12. Commodity orientation to management.
12. Asks if nature should be treated as a commodity
13. Research is mostly intradisciplinary;
unit of analysis is discipline specific
13. Research focuses on interconnections, is interdisciplinary; unit of analysis
is the system.