Science-based Forest Design

Klaus von Gadow, Chun Yu Zhang, Xiu Hai Zhao


Approximately 3000 million ha of the world’s forests have been classified as productive, and are subject to some kind of management. Considering their environmental and social importance, the managed forest ecosystems are not receiving as much scientific attention as the few remaining unmanaged ones. This is especially true in the growing urban landscapes where managed forest ecosystems provide a range of important services. Most societies today demand integrated and wide-ranging approaches to forest management that address social, ecological, and economic goals. These demands can be met if simplistic philosophies and unverified doctrines are replaced by new paradigms that require a wider understanding of social demands and natural system dynamics. In theory, involving science directly in the management of a wooded ecosystem appears to be logical, but the practical implementation of this idea is not a trivial task. This paper presents a theoretical framework for the science-based management of a forested landscape that includes three key elements: forest design, research and demonstration and harvest event analysis. This framework is introduced, explained by means of examples, and supported by concrete evidence. The paper is based on an updated version of Gadow (2005), and it is not intended as a manifest, but as a contribution to a much-needed discussion about forest management as a scientific discipline. MCFNS-1:14-25.


Forest Design, Harvest Event Analysis, Research and Demonstration

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© 2008 Mathematical and Computational Forestry & Natural-Resource Sciences