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What Is a Sustainably Managed Forest?


Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Throughout the years, wood continues to be a vital resource in our day to day lifestyle. However, as the years pass by, due to the increased demand for wood and the need to use the land covered by forests, our forests have faced mass destruction.

Apart from using wood for fuel, paper, for food, for constructional material, forests also play a big part in maintaining a good environmental balance of our world. To reverse the adverse effects of forest destruction, sustainable forest management has taken its course in maintaining the forests. So what is a sustainably managed forest? Let’s have a look at the definition below.

Definition of a sustainably managed forest

A sustainably managed forest is a forest that is designed to meet the needs of society and industrial needs while maintaining its overall health. In a simple definition, a sustainably managed forest is a forest that is being used to give out its natural resources such as wood for fuel and paper while maintaining its vitality.

There are different ways in which a forester may use to manage such a forest, allowing people to use the forest’s resources and maintain the forest’s health.

Practices of sustainable forestry

The practices vary from forest to forest depending on the resources being extracted from the forest. Outlined below are some of the practices done in sustainable forestry in the UK.

  1. A forester or a forest manager in the UK will survey the area of the forest that is to be sustained. Their goal is to find out what animals live in the forest (whether the animals are endangered), an inventory of timber in that part of the forest. They will also research on the proximity of the forest to urban areas, their environmental aspects such as watersheds and recreational activities of humans in the forest
  2. The next thing a forester will do is to determine the amount of resources that can be derived from the forest and in what amounts. The goal here is to know what can be harvested without having to cut down a large number of trees. This will also allow them to know in which ways will they harvest timber from the forest. Harvesting can be done by pruning branches of trees instead of cutting down an entire tree, felling down older trees to allow new and healthier growth to take place and reducing the population of some trees in a specific area. The practices may also include the planting of more unique species of trees.
  3. Another vital practise of sustainable forestry in the UK is the controlled burning which encourages forest regeneration.

Benefits of a sustainably managed forest In the UK

Sustainable forestry has caused so many benefits in the UK. There are so many benefits, but below are the most relevant ones that most people benefit from.

1. Social benefits

Sustainable forestry has created employment to many people in the UK in places like the paper industry, the furniture industry and also in sustainable forest management. We also benefit from the recreational, educational, spiritual and also cultural values that our forests provide. Therefore when sustainable forestry is done, then we can continue to enjoy all of these values as humans.

2. Products

Sustainably managed forests provide us with invaluable products such as paper, fuel, personal care products, pharmaceuticals and other essential products. Sustainable forestry has dramatically saved the forest from lacking some of these vital resources that we would not live well without. The energy from wood is also a significant type of renewable energy that we can enjoy. Sustainable forestry has allowed us to keep using the forests’ resources and at the same time, enjoy the other benefits of a healthy forest.

3. Water

Forests provide a covering and protection to the watersheds that are the source of the water we drink. It also minimizes drought and floods, thus lowering the risk of erosion. The forested catchments supply us with a larger volume of freshwater which we drink and use in our homes. Sustainable forestry also helps to protect and also sustain the quality of the water that comes from the water catchment areas. The programme also helps protect the variety of water flows and the watersheds found in the forests.

Summary

Sustainable forestry is a planet saver coming at the right time when the trees were crying out for help. Some few years ago, the number of trees that were cut down everyday surpassed the number of those that were planted. This caused mass destruction of the forests in the UK. As a result, water catchment areas in the forest began to dry up and many rivers dried up too. So the sustainable forestry project is an excellent undertaking for the whole ecosystem. The forests benefit in a significant way, and so does the human population who depend on the forests’ resources for everyday life needs.

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