Managing human activities in a forest in such a way that all the expected goods and services are provided over the long-term is an extraordinarily difficult task. So difficult in fact, that doing so has been described as a wicked problem, in other words, a problem with no readily identifiable solution. Adding to the complexity is the uncertainty associated with incomplete knowledge of the likely consequences of particular actions, and the added complexity of the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems. Together, these different sources of complexity create a formidable task for forest managers.
Adaptive management is a process by which managers can continuously improve their practices through learning from the outcomes of both operational and experimental practices (but primarily the former). This is much more than “learning by doing”, since it involves a formal, structured approach to designing, implementing and monitoring management actions.
In this topic, you will examine some of the many different aspects of adaptive management. You will work with four major management questions:
- What do we want?
- How do we get that?
- Is our approach correct?
- What do we do if the approach is wrong?
Given the complexities of forest management, and the many conflicting demands that managers have to try and meet, it is not surprising that there are a range of tools available to help them make decisions. Some of these tools, such as remotes sensing and GIS are related to the primary data collection and analysis. Others are used once all the available information has been assembled. In this topic, you will examine some of the tools that are available to you.
Decision support tools start with organizing data and other information in a structured way. The old saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees, is very apt here. The wealth of information available to a manager may simply be overwhelming, and tools are needed to try and sift through this information to determine what is the most important, and how it can be dealt with in ways that minimize potential adverse impacts on any particular components of the forest. For example, a decision to manage the amount of coarse woody debris in a forest by the use of prescribed burning may have adverse effects on the amount of carbon stored in a forest and any species that are dependent on coarse woody debris as a habitat. Conversely, long-term fire suppression, while apparently conserving timber stocks, may have a whole range of adverse effects, preventing the forest ecosystem from renewing itself. In this part of the topic, you will learn about the structured approach that needs to be taken when making difficult and complex decisions about a forest
6.1.1 Management plans
6.1.2 Decision making in forestry
- This topic is examined in Chapters 13 and 15 of the course text.
Innes, J., & Tikina, A. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable forest management: From principles to practice. London: Earthscan Publications. ISBN: 1844077241
A Key Reference
- BC Ministry of Sustainable Resources Management. (2014). Writing resource objectives and strategies: A guide to preparing effective resources management plans (2nd). Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/slrp/policies-guides/writing_resource_objectives.pdf
BC Government guide to writing resource management plans, available at the above link.
- The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources Operations (FLNRO). (n.d.). Adaptive management initiatives in the BC forest service. Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/amhome/index.htm
You should read about adaptive management. The Government of British Columbia, Canada, maintains an informative website dealing with adaptive management at the above link.
- The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources Operations (FLNRO). (n.d.). An introductory guide to adaptive management for project leaders and participants. Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/amhome/Training/am-intro-guide-intro.htm
In particular, you should look at their on-line guide to adaptive management, which starts at the above link.
Suggested further reading
- Bott, R., Murphy, P., & Udell, R. (2003). Learning from the forest: A fifty-year journey towards sustainable forest management. Calgary: Fifth House. ISBN-10:1894856236;ISBN-13: 978-1894856232
- Government of British Columbian. (n.d.). Land use planning and objectives. Retrieved from http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/land-use/land-use-planning-and-objectives
BC Government guide to strategic land-use planning is available at the above link.
- Ministry of Forests, British Columbia. (1999). Landscape unit planning guide. Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/slrp/policies-guides/LUGuide.pdf
- org (2015, April 23). Category: DSS (Decision Support Systems). Retrieved from http://www.forestdss.org/wiki/index.php?title=Category:DSS
There are numerous different decision support systems available for forest managers. A useful list, including links to the main types, is provided at the above link.
Some of existing management plans
- Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Alberta (n.d.). A guide to Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.’s detailed forest management plan for the period 1997-2006. Retrieved from http://www.millarwestern.com/pdf/mwfp_dfmp_summary.pdf
- Fort St John Pilot Project, Canadian Forest Products Ltd.. (2004). Sustainable forest management plan. Retrieved from https://www.canfor.com/documents/sustainability/FSJ_Pilot_Draft_SFM_Plan_Part_1.pdf
- WFP Stillwater Forest Operation. (2015). Sustainable forest management plan. Retrieved from http://cagstw.org/sustainable_items/0000/0001/SFO_SFMP_Final_Plan_October_2014_indicator_results_March_2015.pdf
- West Forest Products Inc.. (2011). Tree farm licence 6 management plan #10. Retrieved from http://www.westernforest.com/sustainability/environmental-stewardship/planning-and-practices/our-forests/tree-farm-licence-6-management-plan-10/
Two highly recommended texts on decision-making in forestry
- Buongiorno, J., & Gilles, J.K. (2003). Decision methods for forest resource management. New York: Academic Press. ISBN-10:0121413608; ISBN-13: 978-0121413606
- Kangas, A., Kangas, J., & Kurttila, M. (2008). Decision support for forest management. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4020-6787-7; ISBN 978-1-4020-6786-0
Other text and journal articles on forest management planning
- Belton, V., & Stewart, T.J. (2002). Multiple criteria decision analysis: An integrated approach. Dordrecht: Kluwer. ISBN-10:079237505X; ISBN-13: 978-0792375050
- Hurme, E., Kurttila, M., Mönkkönen, M., Heinonen, T., & Pukkala, T. (2007). Maintenance of flying squirrel habitat and timber harvest: A site-specific spatial model in forest planning calculations. Landscape Ecology 22(2), 243-256. doi: 10.1007/s10980-006-9019-9
- Kangas, J., Hokkanen, J., Kangas, A., Lahdelma, R., & Salminen, P. (2003). Applying stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis to forest ecosystem management with both cardinal and ordinal criteria. Forest Science 49(6), 928-937.
- Kangas, J., & Kangas, A. (2005). Multiple criteria decision support in forest management – Fundamentals of the approach, methods applied, and experiences gained. Forest Ecology and Management 207(1-2), 133-143.
- Kangas, J., & Store, R. (2003). Internet and teledemocracy in participatory planning on natural resource management. Landscape and Urban Planning 62(2), 89-101. doi: 10.1016/S0169-2046(02)00125-1
- Kangas, J., Store, R., Leskinen, P., & Mehtätalo, L. (2000). Improving the quality of landscape ecological forest planning by utilizing advanced decision-support tools. Forest Ecology and Management 132(2-3), 157-171. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1127(99)00221-2
- Pykäläinen, J., Kangas, J., & Loikkanen, T. (1999). Interactive decision analysis in participatory strategic forest planning: Experiences from State owned boreal forests. Journal of Forest Economics 5(3), 341-364.
- Shields, D.J., Tolwinski, B., & Keny, B.M. (1999). Models for conflict resolution in ecosystem management. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 33(1), 61-84. doi:1016/S0038-0121(98)00003-2
Guidelines for forest management planning
There are many different guides to the development of a forest management plan. These differ among jurisdictions, as a key aspect of a plan is consistency with the law, and laws vary.
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). (2009). Forest management planning manual for Ontario’s crown forests. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Retrieved from https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/2821/fmpmanual-2009-aoda.pdf
Guidelines for forest management planning in Ontario, Canada, are available in the manual at the above link.
- Oregon State University. (n.d.). Oregon forest management planning. Retrieved from http://outreach.oregonstate.edu/programs/forestry/oregon-forest-management-planning
Similar guidelines, for Oregon, USA, are available at the above link.
Examples of management plans
- Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (2007). Forest management plan. Retrieved from http://esrd.alberta.ca/lands-forests/forest-management/forest-management-plans/alpac-forest-products.aspx
An example of a management plan for a large industrial concession is provided by Alpac for their forest management area in Alberta, Canada.
- Conservation Commission of Western Australia. (2013). Forest management plan 2014-2023: Conservation commission of Western Australia. Retrieved from http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/documents/conservation-management/forests/FMP/20130282_WEB_FOREST_MGT_PLAN_WEB.pdf
An example of a regional forest management plan, with a strong emphasis on conservation, is provided by the plan for Western Australia.
- Viking Global New Zealand Limited. (2013). Forest management plan for the period 2013/2018. Retrieved from http://www.pfolsen.com/nz/src/fscman/VIKG_MP13.pdf
An example of a management plan prepared for an industrial plantation forest in New Zealand.
- Vancouver Parks & Recreation. (2009). Stanley park forest management plan. Retrieved from http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Stanley-Park-Forest-Management-Plan.pdf
An example of a management plan prepared for an urban forest park is the one developed for Stanley Park, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
- The Ontario Woodlot Association. (n.d.). Preparing a management plan. Retrieved from http://www.ontariowoodlot.com/forman_plan.html
Even relatively small-scale operations should have a plan of some sort. An example of the guidelines for this level of planning is provided for Ontario woodlots.
- Malua Forest Reserve. (2008). Conservation management plan 2008-2014. Retrieved from http://www.maluabank.com/downloads/Malua_CMP.pdf
An example of a management plan from Sabah, Malaysia.
- Government of Yukon. (n.d.). The plan: What is an FRMP (Forest Resources Management Plan)? Retrieved from http://yukonforestplanning.ca/plan
Forest management plans need to be integrated with a variety of other plans. An example of how this can be done is provided by Yukon Territory in Canada.
- The State of Victoria. (n.d.). Code of practice for timber production. Retrieved from http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/forestry-and-land-use/timber-production/timber-harvesting-regulation/code-of-practice-for-timber-production
Management plans also need to be consistent with regulatory requirements. In some jurisdictions, these include detailed codes of practice for forest operations. An example of such a code, and the process leading up to its implementation, is provided for the State of Victoria.
- Siry, J.P. et al. (Eds.). (2015). Forest plans of North America. London: Academic Press. ISBN-10:0127999361; ISBN-13: 978-0127999364
A particularly useful summary of forest management plans has been developed in the above book.