1. Forestry and Forest Management

Forestry can be defined as the art, science, and practice of managing the natural resources that occur on and in association to forested land for human benefit. This definition necessitates that the forest manager considers not only the trees in the forest, but also such things as protecting wildlife and preserving water ecosystems for drinking and for aquatic life. Foresters are often involved with the control of insects, pests, and diseases in the forest, and they can also assume the broader role of protecting the forest environment. The forester is a land manager responsible for all the goods, benefits and services that flow from the forest (Young 1982).

"The science of forestry is a complex amalgamation of the biological, physical, managerial, social and political sciences."

Similarly, the professional forester should have a broad understanding of scientific principles, all the while being able to achieve a deep expertise in some specific field(s), (i.e., such as forest economics and forest policy).

Modern forestry is based on the concept of sustainable forest management, which requires that forest resources and forest lands are managed and used to fulfill social, economic, ecological and cultural needs of present and future generations. The concept is discussed more in POLICY4.

In the following area we describe some key activities and special management orientations that are related to forestry.

Forest management means the process of planning and implementing practices for the stewardship and use of forests and other wooded land aimed at achieving specific environmental, economic, social and/or cultural objectives. It includes management on all levels including normative, strategic, tactical and operational level management.

In most countries timber is the major output of forests. Trees are large and heavy and therefore harvesting timber is a technological and economic challenge, which has to be carefully considered in practical forestry and forest sciences.

Wood harvesting covers several interlinked operations that get trees from the forest to their users (usually in the forest industries). Harvesting has four major phases:

1. cutting and preparing the tree,
2. moving the tree or its segments in the forest to a concentration point (often next to a forest road),
3. loading the tree or its segments for (long distance) transport and,
4. hauling the tree or its segments to the market point or to the mill (Young 1982).   

Each of these phases can be subdivided into one or more functions. Harvesting systems are then designed by combining these functions and performing them with different types of equipment to achieve harvesting operations. In different parts of the world harvesting systems vary considerably due to the size of trees and other forest characteristics, terrain and topography, climatic conditions, available technology, scale of operations and the requirements of the product for which wood is used.

Harvesting or wood procurement methods can be grouped by different criteria but the most common one is according to the form timber is moved to landing before long-distance haul. Three major methods are:

1. timber assortment or short wood (cut-to-length) method, where wood is prepared like the  timber assortments already on the felling site,
2. long wood method, where the tree(s) is only limbed on the felling site,
3. whole or full-tree method, where only the felling is done before the moving the tree  (Uusitalo 2003).

There are other useful criteria used to differentiate types of logging based on how the tree (or its segment) is moved method used to move a tree in the forest from stump to forest road. This include:

1. by hand,
2. by animal,
3. by cable skidder,
4. by forwarder which carries the trees,
5. by cable yard method, where trees on steep slopes are moved by cables located high above the ground.

In commercial logging, the cable skidder is most widely used in the long wood method and whole tree methods; since forwarders are most common used in cut-to-length methods (Uusitalo 2003). Firewood is often harvested by hand and very often it has been a task for females. However, animal skidding is also occasionally used for bigger trees. Recently, the harvesting of biomass has become an object of intensive technological development. The logistical problems of firewood collection by local people are minor compared to industrial logging, but still deserve consideration.


Agroforestry is in some ways a new developmental phase for traditional activities such as practicing slash-and-burn agriculture or to keep cattle in the forest. The term agroforestry refers to the combination of agricultural and forestry activities that are simultaneous in some particular areas (in order to obtain greater benefits in a sustainable manner). The raising of cattle in wooded areas (and range management as an essential part of it), can be seen as a form of agroforestry (this also includes reindeer management in the northernmost parts of the boreal forests of Scandinavia and Russia).

According to the scientific definition "agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land-management units as agricultural crops and/or animals; by adopting some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are both ecological and economic interactions between the different systems" (Nair 1989).


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