Use science to manage our forests

By Dave King
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
December 17, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Although a recently published guest column failed to offer an answer to its query “Can we just stop cutting state forests?” I am pleased to inform the author there is a means for making that determination. It is called “science,” and the specific field that governs forestry is “silviculture.” This science is old, and through over a century of observation, measurement and experimentation, silviculturalists have established a deep body of knowledge, including things like: Tree mortality is higher in overcrowded forests; forests that are homogeneous in age, class or species diversity are less resilient to climate change and pests; and that modern forests on the whole are crowded and homogeneous (due to historical land use), and thus subject to elevated risk of mortality from crowding, climate change or pests. The good news is that silviculturalists have devised practices based on over a century of ongoing research and experience to remedy this vulnerability…

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