A basic principle of forest management is to maintain or increase in the productivity of the forest ecosystem. This refers to all products of the forest, including both timber and non-timber forest products. Early forestry, as we saw in Module I, tended to focus on the production of timber, with ‘scientific forestry’ focusing on establishing and maintaining the yield of timber (known as sustained yield). This remains a focus of many forest operations, particularly plantations, but is becoming less important in the management of natural forests, where other values, such as the maintenance of biodiversity may be more important. Forest managers need to understand some of the basic principles surrounding ecosystem productivity, so that they can focus interventions at those points most likely to create a desirable effect.
There are a number of instances where forest productivity has not been maintained during forestry operations. Many harvesting operations have concentrated on the best trees in a forest, in a process now known as “high grading”. This is believed to have damaged the productivity of many forests due to the loss of some of the best genetic stock, although the actual evidence that this process is important in the long-term is limited. More often, declines in productivity have been associated with plantation species. In these cases, there has been poor species to site matching, or the available nutrients in the soils have been very limited and easily exhausted. For example, some Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) plantations in China appear to have been established on very poor soils, and are showing signs of nutrient deficiency. Nutritional problems are particularly apparent on peat soils, as the nutrients in these are entirely derived from the atmosphere.
4.1.1 Maintenance of productive capacity
4.1.2 Plantation forests
4.1.3 Productivity of plantations
4.1.4 Environmental concerns and trade-offs
4.1.5 Productivity indicators
- Chapter 4 of the course textbook:
Innes, J., & Tikina, A. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable forest management: From principles to practice. London: Earthscan Publications. ISBN: 1844077241
- Bauhus, J., Van Der Meer, P. & Kanninen, M. (Eds.). (2010). Ecosystem goods and services from plantation forests. London: Earthscan. Retrieved from http://www.cifor.org/ARD/documents/Ecosystem%20Goods%20and%20Services%20from%20Plantation%20Forests_2010.pdf
- British Columbia Ministry of Forests. (1995). Forest fertilization guidebook. Victoria: BC Ministry of Forests. Retrieved from: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legsregs/fpc/fpcguide/fert/ferttoc.htm .
- Evans, J. (Ed.). (2009). Planted forests: Uses, impacts and sustainability. Wallingford, UK: CABI and FAO. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i0716e/i0716e00.pdf
- Evans, J. & Turnbull, J. (2004). Plantation forestry in the tropics (3rd). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10:0198509472; ISBN-13: 9780198509479
- Grebner, D.L., Bettinger, P., & Siry, J.P. (2013). Introduction to forestry and natural resources (Chapter 9). London: Academic Press. ISBN-10:0123869013; ISBN-13: 978-0123869012
- Mackensen, J. (1999). Nutrient management for industrial tree plantations (HTI) in Indonesia: A practical guidance towards integrated nutrient management. Eschborn: GTZ. ISBN 3933984378, 9783933984371
- Mackensen, J., & Fölster, H. (1999). Study on sustainable nutrient supply in fast-growing plantations: Ecological and economic implications in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Eschborn: GTZ. Retrieved from http://www.mekonginfo.org/assets/midocs/0002347-environment-study-on-sustainable-nutrient-supply-in-fast-growing-plantationsecological-and-economic-implications-in-east-kalimantan-indonesia.pdf
- Mead, D.J. (2013). Sustainable management of Pinus radiata plantations. FAO Forestry Paper 170. Rome: FAO. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3274e/i3274e.pdf.
- Putz, F.E., & Romero, C. (2015). Futures of tropical production forests. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Retrieved from http://www.cifor.org/library/5766/futures-of-tropical-production-forests/
- Ren, H. (Ed.). (2013). Plantations: Biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and restoration. New York: Nova Science Publishers. ISBN-10:1628080906; ISBN-13: 978-1628080902
- West, P.W. (2006). Growing plantation forests. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F3-540-32479-8
In addition to this reading material, much useful information can be gained from the Forest Productivity website at http://www.forestproductivity.net/ .