Managing Forests as Ecosystems: A Success Story or a Challenge Ahead? [chapter]

Virginia H. Dale
1998 Successes, Limitations, and Frontiers in Ecosystem Science  
To manage forests as ecosystems, the many values they hold for different users must be recognized, and they must be used so that those assets are not destroyed. Important ecosystem features of forests include nutrient cycling, habitat, succession, and water quality. Over time, the ways in which humans value forests have changed as forest uses have altered and as forests have declined in size and quality. Both ecosystem science and forest ecology have developed approaches that are usefil to
more » ... are usefil to manage forests to retain their value. A historical perspective shows how changes in ecology, legislation, and technology have resulted in modern forest-management practices. However, current forest practices are still a decade or so behind current ecosystem science. Ecologists have done a good job of transferring their theories and approaches to the forest manager classroom but have done a poor job of translating these concepts into practice. Thus, the fbture for ecosystem management requires a closer linkage between ecologists and other disciplines. For example, the changing ways in which humans value forests are the primary determinant of forest-management policies. Therefore, if ecologists are to understand how ecosystem science can influence these policies, they must work closely with social scientists trained to assess human values.
doi:10.1007/978-1-4612-1724-4_3 fatcat:bx3mzk2bnvagvc3a7kdsxciika