Module VI: Introduction

In this module, you will learn how the criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management are put into practice. As with the other modules, this module is intended to provide an introduction to the practice of sustainable forest management, and in future there will be a number of courses dealing with particular aspects examined in the module. Having the theory behind sustainable forest management, as outlined in earlier modules, provides you with some of the material that you will need to implement it. However, actual implementation is extremely complex, and involves a variety of different skills. These generally take time to acquire, but this module will help you identify those skills and will show you how you can gain them.

Sustainable forest management has sometimes been described as a ‘wicked’ problem. This is a very special type of problem (see for a useful account of such problems) that has no easy answer. Wicked in this sense does not mean evil – rather it is described as such because it resists the finding of a solution. There may be no correct answer, and in attempting to answer a particular question, other questions may arise. In this module, you will be provided with some tools to deal with such issues.

In practice, one way in which your management may be assessed is through the external auditing done as part of third-party certification. The second topic in this module addresses certification, and explains how it works. The final presentation shows the requirements that are expected for certification under the PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), and you will see how closely these expectations are linked to what you have learnt in the earlier modules.