Forest management

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Forest Management is involves looking at forests or forestry as a sector, managing this sector and its natural resources, and using forests to provide sustainable livelihoods to forest dwellers or forest fringe dwellers. Forest management today focuses on ensuring the sustainability of forest resources, ecosystems, and the social and economic structures that rely on them.


Why should I be aware of this?

  • In recent years there has been a major shift towards a more decentralized and people oriented forestry with greater emphasis on reverse degradation and restoration of productivity.
  • Each year, nearly 33 million acres of forestland around the world is cut down, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Tropical felling alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon—some 20 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—to the atmosphere annually. [1]
  • If such losses were cut in half, it could save 500 million metric tons of carbon annually and contribute 12 percent of the total reductions in GHG emissions required to avoid unpleasant global warming. [1]

All about forest management

Many poor rural families dependent on forest resources for fuel, fodder, food, medicine, housing etc. are greatly affected by the destruction of natural forests for timber, cropland, fuel wood, pasture and urbanization. The deterioration of forests has accelerated soil erosion, sedimentation of rivers, increased flooding, and overtaxed the land’s capacity to regenerate and sustain.

In view of these developments it is now felt that local communities need to be involved in establishing sustainable forest management systems. Governments in different parts of the world are opening up opportunities for sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.

More effective in reducing global warming

Experts believe that proper forest management and agricultural practices can be more effective in reducing the threat of global warming than can technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) from coal-fired power plants.

Anything that reduces soil disturbance increases carbon storage. Some practical methods are more widespread adoption of ‘no-till farming’, a practice that involves leaving unharvested crop stalks and other plant matter behind in the field undisturbed by plows and other soil-agitating instruments. This way, the carbon stored inside the remains sinks into the soil instead of being stirred up and into the atmosphere.

As farming over the past century has depleted the levels of organic carbon in the soil, there remains enough opportunity to pour carbon back into the soil. But, as with water, the soil has its limits of holding carbon before it is saturated.

Local initiatives

Involvement of local people has led to greater access and control of forest resources. This has resulted in improved forest protection and management and has reduced pressure on resources.

Substantial areas of degraded forests have been rehabilitated and new forests planted. Local people have started supporting forest conservation where they have been able to reap financial returns from benefit-sharing schemes.


  • Forest depletion ultimately contributes more GHG emissions than all the cars and trucks in use worldwide. [1]
  • In Scandinavia, forests cover more land now than in the previous century—thus increasing their carbon storage—while still being regularly harvested. [1]
  • The more we can prolong the storage of wood products in human structures, the longer the carbon is kept out of the atmosphere. [1]
  • Good forest management is typically also good carbon management. [1]


  • Combating Climate Change: Farming Out Global Warming Solutions


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Scientific American