Consanguine Philosophies of Traditional Timber-Based and Contemporary Sustainability-Based Forest Resource Management Plans


The earliest American forest resource management plans date to the birth of the forestry profession around 1900. For the next half century, these management plans were essentially timber production management plans. Certainly, other forest values, especially watershed protection, were important parts of the planning. But not until the second half of the twentieth century did multiple-use and a wide array of forest values become normal components of a forest management plan. Within the last twenty-five years forest management plans have developed a forest stewardship or sustainable forest management foundation. That is, a forest resource management plan is now expected to consider an entire set of forest values, to have a long-term sustainability focus, and to meet a set of expected management and operational criteria. Often, the forest management plan is the basis of a forest certification scheme. The early forest management plans were primarily timber-based and thus had a commercial or financial focus. Today’s forest management plans are based on multiple forest values and may or may not have a financial focus. We contrast the traditional timber management plan with today’s sustainable forest management plan, realizing the basis of both plans is by definition the forest or the timber. Involving both timber harvesting activities and the operational foundation of the sustainable forest management plan is essentially a timber management plan. One cannot ignore the fact that all forest management plans accomplish silvicultural objectives via manipulation of timber density variables, like stocking and spacing. Management of a forest still involves timber harvests. Our discussion shows that the timber management plan is still very much alive and forms the basis of modern sustainable forest management plans.

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T. Straka, R. Tew and T. Cushing, "Consanguine Philosophies of Traditional Timber-Based and Contemporary Sustainability-Based Forest Resource Management Plans," Natural Resources, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 387-394. doi: 10.4236/nr.2013.45048.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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