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Sustained productivity of forests is a continuing challenge to soil science

Sustained productivity of forests is a continuing challenge to soil science

Soil Science Society of America Journal 60(6): 1629-1642

Scientific uncertainties about ecosystem processes and greater awareness of the need for environmental care are sources of public anxiety over forest management. Partly because of this, the negative impacts of poor forestry practices are often emphasized, overlooking the achievements in sustainable forestry. The forest estates should be viewed and managed as a continuum so that the overall need for production of wood and the protection of environmental values can be met. We need practical goals of forest management. One goal should be to ensure that the trend in forest productivity is nondeclining or is positive through successive rotations and harvests, while maintaining and enhancing the quality of the soil resource base in perpetuity. The conflicts about the use of native forests for wood harvesting, while maintaining all conservation values, can be lessened if the value of each forest is ranked within a scale ranging from wood production to conservation. The growing demand for wood and concerns for land care can be met in part by expanding plantation forestry. Questions concerning management strategies for sustainable forestry are global in scope, but the genesis and application of practices for achieving this are local and are based fundamentally on the soil. The expectation of developing soil-based sustainability indicators can be realized only if the expectation is backed by substantial research linking changes in soil properties, ecosystem processes, and productivity at the landscape level. Challenges are many and include interdisciplinary approaches to research and forest management, application to ensure economic prosperity, and positive approaches to communication.

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Accession: 002973859

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DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1996.03615995006000060006x

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