Forest Management Overview

Forest management is a branch of forestry concerned with the overall administrative, economic, legal, and social aspects and with the essentially scientific and technical aspects, especially silviculture, protection, and forest regulation. This includes management for aesthetics, fish, recreation, urban values, water, wilderness, wildlife, wood products, forest genetic resources and other forest resource values. Management can be based on conservation, economics, or a mixture of the two. Techniques include timber extraction, planting and replanting of various species, cutting roads and pathways through forests, and preventing fire.
There has been an increased public awareness of natural resource policy, including forest management. Public concern regarding forest management may have shifted from the extraction of timber for earning money for the economy, to the preservation of additional forest resources, including wildlife and old growth forest, protecting biodiversity, watershed management, and recreation. Increased environmental awareness may contribute to an increased public mistrust of forest management professionals. Nevertheless, it can also lead to greater understanding about what professionals do re forests for nature conservation and ecological services.
The planning process for forest management includes careful identification of landowner objectives, inventory of resources, development and implementation of the management strategy used as well as the periodic re-evaluation of the implemented strategy. Based on the inventory analysis, one or more management plans are then developed to achieve the ownership objectives. These forest management plans are based on and limited by what is biologically/ecologically possible on the area, what is economically and organizationally feasible, and what is socially and politically desirable.
The biological/ecological characteristics of the forest determine what is possible on the area, including such things as which tree species will grow, how fast they will grow, what wildlife will live on the area, etc. Based on the biological/ecological characteristics of the site, silvicultural practices can be prescribed to achieve ownership objectives. Silvicultural prescriptions are treatments designed to manipulate forested land such as various kinds of timber cuttings, tree plantings, prescribed burning, and the use of specific chemicals such as herbicides and fertilizers.