T e a c h e r  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Using our Forests Wisely


Educator, Richmond, British Columbia

Sustainable Forest Management

Sustainable Forest Management looks at not just the trees, but the whole ecosystem

British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre
c. 2000
British Columbia, CANADA

© 2006, British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre. All Rights Reserved.


Sustainable forest management is a subset of sustainable management. Sustainable management was first defined in a very public way by the Brundtland Commission over a decade ago. They defined it, and I like this definition, as using resources without unduly restricting the access of future generations to the same resources. Or, using things without using them up. That would be sustainable management, it applies to a lot of different fields. Sustainable forest management would be forestry management so that the resources associated with the forests will also be available to future generations. Forest management involves a whole host of activities. In British Columbia, we log about 150-200,000 hectares of forests each year. That’s a fairly sizable portion. Obviously that has an impact on the forests. Those areas are regenerated to grow back younger forests, but in logging older forests and regenerating younger forests, you change the structure and composition of the stands, you change the habitat that is available for wildlife, you change the recreational activities that people want to do around those sorts of forests, you change the stores of carbon and nitrogen and the forests ecosystem. You change a whole host of things during those activities. And it is looking at that whole suit of resources, not just the trees and the timber, but the forests and the recreational activities, the wildlife habitat and the water quality. Everything that goes with the forest is all a component of sustainable forest management. You are not just trying to sustain the trees or the timber, you are trying to sustain all of the resources associated with the forests.