In this module, you have learnt about how the knowledge that you have gained in the course might be applied in reality, and how in practice your ability to manage forests might be assessed (through certification audits). Adopting an appropriate approach requires adopting an appropriate mind set, laid out in the principles of adaptive management. Managers cannot make decisions alone, and much consultation is required. Often the first step is an assessment of the resource and then a review of the management objectives over the coming years (often with a time horizon of 20 years or longer). These are formalized in a forest management plan.
The forest management plan is then implemented through a number of short- and long-term actions. Various terms have been used in different jurisdictions, potentially confusing the novice. However, within a given plan, the language should be consistent and the objectives and planned management actions clear.
Ultimately, the performance of a manager is likely to be assessed by both the employer of a manager and a third party, such as the government (if not the employer) or a certification auditor. Obtaining a clean audit should be the objective of every manager, but the ultimate goal should always be the sustainable management of any forest area under the manager’s control.