Module I: Introduction

This module provides an introduction to the concept of sustainable forest management. Foresters have managed forests for hundreds of years, and there are references to forest management in some of the earliest known written documents. However, over time, the objectives of this management have changed, and they continue to evolve. Instead of a focus purely on timber production, forest management today involves multiple values, although timber production often remains the most important, especially for many plantation forests. However, some forests are managed for biodiversity conservation, some are managed as recreational resources, some are managed specifically to protect watersheds, some are managed to protect alpine towns from avalanches and so on.

In the individual topics, some of these changes are described and analyzed. Particular attention is paid to a number of turning points, when forest management objectives in a particular region changed significantly. To fully understand these changes, and the background to them, you will need to read a large amount of supplementary material. We have made this material available to you in the course resources, but there is not an expectation that you read everything. Instead, the most important readings are high-lighted. You should also read the relevant chapters in the accompanying textbook: for this module, it is chapters 1 and 2.