Full-Service Forests: Food, Pharmaceuticals & Fibre

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Measuring coarse woody debris and other structural elements below the tree canopy.

Photo taken by UBC Forest Biometrics Research Lab

Managing for wildlife habitat, soil stability, water, medicinal plants and foods – nuts, berries, and mushrooms – as well as timber resources, are now all part of most forest development plans and goals.

Today’s forest management looks toward sustaining a variety of resources as well as revenue from timber products. That’s at least partly because “a diversity of plant and animal species can improve the ability of a stand to survive under dramatic changes in environmental conditions including climate change,” says Dr. Valerie LeMay, Professor of Forest Biometrics and Measurements at Canada’s University of British Columbia.

It’s a change from the past when forests were managed primarily for timber resources. Today’s forest managers realize that even the structure of a stand – the variation in tree heights, diameters, location and species and the number of dead trees standing or lying in it – is an important aspect of managing for multiple benefits, she said.

Large gaps in a tree stand, for instance, provide light for new tree growth, but also for grasses, herbs, shrubs and other vegetation that often provide food for deer and other wildlife.

The question though, is how best to manage all this? Dr. LeMay and Dr. Peter Newton, Research Scientist at Natural Resources Canada, will coordinate a session that deals with managing and measuring stand structure for a diverse array of forest products at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul.

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