Sustainability and Forest Certification as a Framework for a Capstone Forest Resource Management Plans Course


Forest sustainability is the foundation of forestry and modern forest management. Originally the central concept was sustained-yield and maximum timber production and then multiple-use and other non-timber values gained importance. After the Rio Conference and development of the Montréal Process in the early 1990’s, forest sustainability rapidly gained importance and various forest certification schemes developed to certify forest products that were grown using sustainable forest management. Forest sustainability and forest certification have become critical topics in forestry curricula. The American Tree Farm System is one of the important North American forest certification organizations. Modern forestry curricula often include a capstone course where forest management plans are developed. We describe a capstone course at Clemson University under development that uses the management standards and management plan template of the American Tree Farm System as a framework for students to develop actual forest management plans for local forest owners. The material is integrated into a series of four courses leading up to the capstone course. The course offered a hands-on approach for students to create management plans using actual certification standards and the system’s management plan template. In addition, students received specialized training to qualify as auditors for the certification system. This is an example of forest sustainability being integrated into the forestry curriculum.

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Watts, C. , Pile, L. & Straka, T. (2012). Sustainability and Forest Certification as a Framework for a Capstone Forest Resource Management Plans Course. Open Journal of Forestry, 2, 159-166. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2012.23019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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