What is sustainable forest management?
At the heart of sustainable forestry management is sustainable development. This allows for trees and forests to be managed in such as way that they can make vital contributions to both people and planet. When forests are managed sustainably this enhances livelihoods, helps act as a source for clean air and water, conserves biodiversity and acts as a response in the climate change fight.
When sustianable forestry management is done right it helps conserve biodiversity, as well as soil, water and carbon in the forest, supports food-security, cultural and livelihood needs, maintains the resilience and capacity of forests, allows for equal sharing of responsibilities and benefits, and fulfills the needs for goods and environmental services from forests.
The UK, along with Europe, are leaders in sustainable forest management practices, which create integrated biodiversity networks of protected natural conservation areas as well as commercial forests. This allows for ‘authentic’ forest composition that is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.
Because of these practices, unlike many other areas of the world, forests in Europe have grown in size rather than shrunk over the last 25 years. Through the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade action plan, the UK is working with the EU to help extend these practices around the world, build a global market for sustainable timber, and preserve forests in developing countries.
‘Sustainable forest management means using forests and forest land in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions at a local, national, and global levels, which does not cause damage to other ecosystems.’ – EU 2013 Forest Strategy