Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using,
conserving, and repairing forests and associated resources to meet
desired goals, needs, and values for human and environment
Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands.
The science of forestry has elements that belong to the biological,
physical, social, political and managerial sciences.
Modern forestry generally embraces a broad range of concerns, in what
is known as multiple-use management, including the provision of
timber, fuel wood, wildlife habitat, natural water quality management,
recreation, landscape and community protection, employment,
aesthetically appealing landscapes, biodiversity management, watershed
management, erosion control, and preserving forests as 'sinks' for
atmospheric carbon dioxide. A practitioner of forestry is known as a
forester. Other terms are used a verderer and a silviculturalist being
Silviculture is narrower than forestry, being concerned
only with forest plants, but is often used synonymously with forestry.
Forest ecosystems have come to be seen as the most important component
of the biosphere, and forestry has emerged as a vital applied
science, craft, and technology.
Forestry is an important economic segment in various industrial
countries. For example, in Germany, forests cover nearly a third of
the land area, wood is the most important renewable resource, and
forestry supports more than a million jobs and about €181 billion of
value to the German economy each year.
A deciduous beech forest in Slovenia
1.2 Early modern forestry development
Forest conservation and early globalization
1.5 Early journals which are still present
Forestry as a science
Genetic diversity in forestry
7.1 History of forestry education
Forestry education today
8 See also
9.2 Further reading
10 External links
The preindustrial age has been dubbed by
Werner Sombart and others as
the 'wooden age', as timber and firewood were the basic resources for
energy, construction and housing. The development of modern forestry
is closely connected with the rise of capitalism, economy as a science
and varying notions of land use and property.
Roman Latifundiae, large agricultural estates, were quite successful
in maintaining the large supply of wood that was necessary for the
Roman Empire. Large deforestations came with respectively after the
decline of the Romans. However already in the 5th century, monks in
the then Byzantine
Romagna on the
Adriatic coast, were able to
establish stone pine plantations to provide fuelwood and food. This
was the beginning of the massive forest mentioned by Dante Alighieri
in his 1308 poem Divine Comedy.
Similar sustainable formal forestry practices were developed by the
Visigoths in the 7th century when, faced with the ever-increasing
shortage of wood, they instituted a code concerned with the
preservation of oak and pine forests. The use and management of
many forest resources has a long history in
China as well, dating back
Han Dynasty and taking place under the landowning gentry. A
similar approach was used in Japan. It was also later written about by
Ming Dynasty Chinese scholar
Xu Guangqi (1562–1633).
In Europe, land usage rights in medieval and early modern times
allowed different users to access forests and pastures.
and resin extraction were important, as pitch (resin) was essential
for the caulking of ships, falking and hunting rights, firewood and
building, timber gathering in wood pastures, and for grazing animals
in forests. The notion of "commons" (German "Allmende") refers to the
underlying traditional legal term of common land. The idea of enclosed
private property came about during modern times. However, most hunting
rights were retained by members of the nobility which preserved the
right of the nobility to access and use common land for recreation,
like fox hunting.
Early modern forestry development
Timber harvesting in Finland
Hans Carl von Carlowitz
Systematic management of forests for a sustainable yield of timber
began in Portugal in the 13th century when Afonso III of Portugal
planted the Pinhal do Rei near
Leiria to prevent coastal erosion and
soil degradation, and as a sustainable source for timber used in naval
construction. His successor Dom Dinis continued the practice and
the forest exists still today.
Forest management also flourished in the German states in the 14th
century, e.g. in Nuremberg, and in 16th-century Japan.
Typically, a forest was divided into specific sections and mapped; the
harvest of timber was planned with an eye to regeneration. As timber
rafting allowed for connecting large continental forests, as in south
western Germany, via Main, Neckar, Danube and Rhine with the coastal
cities and states, early modern forestry and remote trading were
closely connected. Large firs in the black forest were called
„Holländer“, as they were traded to the Dutch ship yards. Large
timber rafts on the Rhine were 200 to 400m in length, 40m in width and
consisted of several thousand logs. The crew consisted of 400 to 500
men, including shelter, bakeries, ovens and livestock stables.
Timber rafting infrastructure allowed for large interconnected
networks all over continental
Europe and is still of importance in
Starting with the sixteenth century, enhanced world maritime trade, a
boom in housing construction in
Europe and the success and further
Berggeschrey (rushes) of the mining industry increased timber
consumption sharply. The notion of 'Nachhaltigkeit', sustainability in
forestry, is closely connected to the work of Hans Carl von Carlowitz
(1645–1714), a mining administrator in Saxony. His book Sylvicultura
oeconomica, oder haußwirthliche Nachricht und Naturmäßige Anweisung
zur wilden Baum-Zucht (1713) was the first comprehensive treatise
about sustainable yield forestry. In the UK, and, to an extent, in
continental Europe, the enclosure movement and the clearances favored
strictly enclosed private property. The Agrarian reformers, early
economic writers and scientists tried to get rid of the traditional
commons. At the time, an alleged tragedy of the commons together
with fears of a Holznot, an imminent wood shortage played a watershed
role in the controversies about cooperative land use patterns.
The practice of establishing tree plantations in the
British Isles was
promoted by John Evelyn, though it had already acquired some
popularity. Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert's oak
Tronçais, planted for the future use of the French Navy, matured as
expected in the mid-19th century: "Colbert had thought of everything
except the steamship,"
Fernand Braudel observed. In parallel,
schools of forestry were established beginning in the late 18th
century in Hesse, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Sweden,
elsewhere in Europe.
Forest conservation and early globalization
Further information: forest conservation
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, forest preservation
programs were established in British India, the United States, and
Europe. Many foresters were either from continental
Europe (like Sir
Dietrich Brandis), or educated there (like Gifford Pinchot). Sir
Dietrich Brandis is considered the father of tropical forestry,
European concepts and practices had to be adapted in tropical and semi
arid climate zones. The development of plantation forestry was one of
the (controversial) answers to the specific challenges in the tropical
colonies. The enactment and evolution of forest laws and binding
regulations occurred in most Western nations in the 20th century in
response to growing conservation concerns and the increasing
technological capacity of logging companies. Tropical forestry is a
separate branch of forestry which deals mainly with equatorial forests
that yield woods such as teak and mahogany.
Forestry mechanization was always in close connection to metal working
and the development of mechanical tools to cut and transport timber to
its destination. Rafting belongs to the earliest means of transport.
Steel saws came up in the 15th century. The 19th century widely
increased the availability of steel for whipsaws and introduced Forest
railways and railways in general for transport and as forestry
customer. Further human induced changes, however, came since World War
II, respectively in line with the '1950s-syndrome'. The first
portable chainsaw was invented in 1918 in Canada, but large impact of
mechanization in forestry started after World War II. Forestry
harvesters are among the most recent developments. Although drones,
planes, laser scanning, satellites and robots also play a part in
Early journals which are still present
Sylwan first published in 1820
Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen first published in
Forester first published in 1875.
Šumarski list (
Forestry Review, Croatia) was published in 1877 by
Montes (Forestry, Spain) first published in 1877.
Revista pădurilor (Journal of Forests, Romania, 1881–1882;
1886–present), the oldest extant magazine in Romania
Forestry Quarterly, first published in 1902 by the New York State
College of Forestry.
Šumarstvo (Forestry, Serbia) first published in 1948 by the
Forestry of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, and since 1951
by Organ of Society of
Forestry Engineers and Technicians of the
Republic of Serbia (succeeding the former Šumarski glasnik published
A modern sawmill
Today a strong body of research exists regarding the management of
forest ecosystems and genetic improvement of tree species and
Forestry also includes the development of better methods
for the planting, protecting, thinning, controlled burning, felling,
extracting, and processing of timber. One of the applications of
modern forestry is reforestation, in which trees are planted and
tended in a given area.
Trees provide numerous environmental, social and economic benefits for
people. In many regions the forest industry is of major
ecological, economic, and social importance. Third-party certification
systems that provide independent verification of sound forest
stewardship and sustainable forestry have become commonplace in many
areas since the 1990s. These certification systems were developed as a
response to criticism of some forestry practices, particularly
deforestation in less developed regions along with concerns over
resource management in the developed world. Some certification systems
are criticized for primarily acting as marketing tools and lacking in
their claimed independence.
In topographically severe forested terrain, proper forestry is
important for the prevention or minimization of serious soil erosion
or even landslides. In areas with a high potential for landslides,
forests can stabilize soils and prevent property damage or loss, human
injury, or loss of life.
Public perception of forest management has become controversial, with
growing public concern over perceived mismanagement of the forest and
increasing demands that forest land be managed for uses other than
pure timber production, for example, indigenous rights, recreation,
watershed management, and preservation of wilderness, waterways and
wildlife habitat. Sharp disagreements over the role of forest fires,
logging, motorized recreation and other issues drives debate while the
public demand for wood products continues to increase.
Main article: Forester
Foresters of the
Austral University of Chile
Austral University of Chile in the Valdivian forests
of San Pablo de Tregua, Chile
Foresters work for the timber industry, government agencies,
conservation groups, local authorities, urban parks boards, citizens'
associations, and private landowners. The forestry profession includes
a wide diversity of jobs, with educational requirements ranging from
college bachelor's degrees to PhDs for highly specialized work.
Industrial foresters plan forest regeneration starting with careful
harvesting. Urban foresters manage trees in urban green spaces.
Foresters work in tree nurseries growing seedlings for woodland
creation or regeneration projects. Foresters improve tree genetics.
Forest engineers develop new building systems. Professional foresters
measure and model the growth of forests with tools like geographic
information systems. Foresters may combat insect infestation, disease,
forest and grassland wildfire, but increasingly allow these natural
aspects of forest ecosystems to run their course when the likelihood
of epidemics or risk of life or property are low. Increasingly,
foresters participate in wildlife conservation planning and watershed
protection. Foresters have been mainly concerned with timber
management, especially reforestation, maintaining forests at prime
conditions, and fire control.
Foresters develop and implement forest management plans relying on
mapped resource inventories showing an area's topographical features
as well as its distribution of trees (by species) and other plant
cover. Plans also include landowner objectives, roads, culverts,
proximity to human habitation, water features and hydrological
conditions, and soils information.
Forest management plans typically
include recommended silvicultural treatments and a timetable for their
implementation. Application of digital maps in Geographic Informations
systems (GIS) that extracts and integrates different information about
forest terrains, soil type and tree covers, etc. using, e.g. laser
scanning, enhances forest management plans in modern systems.
Forest management plans include recommendations to achieve the
landowner's objectives and desired future condition for the property
subject to ecological, financial, logistical (e.g. access to
resources), and other constraints. On some properties, plans focus on
producing quality wood products for processing or sale. Hence, tree
species, quantity, and form, all central to the value of harvested
products quality and quantity, tend to be important components of
Good management plans include consideration of future conditions of
the stand after any recommended harvests treatments, including future
treatments (particularly in intermediate stand treatments), and plans
for natural or artificial regeneration after final harvests.
The objectives of landowners and leaseholders influence plans for
harvest and subsequent site treatment. In Britain, plans featuring
"good forestry practice" must always consider the needs of other
stakeholders such as nearby communities or rural residents living
within or adjacent to woodland areas. Foresters consider tree felling
and environmental legislation when developing plans. Plans instruct
the sustainable harvesting and replacement of trees. They indicate
whether road building or other forest engineering operations are
Agriculture and forest leaders are also trying to understand how the
climate change legislation will affect what they do. The information
gathered will provide the data that will determine the role of
agriculture and forestry in a new climate change regulatory
Forestry as a science
Over the past centuries, forestry was regarded as a separate science.
With the rise of ecology and environmental science, there has been a
reordering in the applied sciences. In line with this view, forestry
is a primary land-use science comparable with agriculture. Under
these headings, the fundamentals behind the management of natural
forests comes by way of natural ecology.
Forests or tree plantations,
those whose primary purpose is the extraction of forest products, are
planned and managed utilizing a mix of ecological and agroecological
Genetic diversity in forestry
The provenance of forest reproductive material used to plant forests
has great influence on how the trees develop, hence why it is
important to use forest reproductive material of good quality and of
high genetic diversity.
The term, genetic diversity describe differences in DNA sequence
between individuals as distinct from variation caused by environmental
influences. The unique genetic composition of an individual (its
genotype) will determine its performance (its phenotype) at a
Genetic diversity is needed to maintain the vitality of forests and to
provide resilience to pests and diseases.
Genetic diversity also
ensures that forest trees can survive, adapt and evolve under changing
environmental conditions. Furthermore, genetic diversity is the
foundation of biological diversity at species and ecosystem levels.
Forest genetic resources are therefore important to consider in forest
Genetic diversity in forests is threatened by forest fires, pests and
diseases, habitat fragmentation, poor silvicultural practices and
inappropriate use of forest reproductive material. Furthermore, the
marginal populations of many tree species are facing new threats due
to climate change.
Most countries in
Europe have recommendations or guidelines for
selecting species and provenances that can be used in a given site or
History of forestry education
See also: List of historic schools of forestry
The first dedicated forestry school was established by Georg Ludwig
Hungen in the Wetterau, Hesse, in 1787, though forestry had
been taught earlier in central Europe, including at the University of
Giessen, in Hesse-Darmstadt.
In Spain, the first forestry school was the
Forest Engineering School
of Madrid (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes), founded
The first in North America, the Biltmore
Forest School was established
near Asheville, North Carolina, by
Carl A. Schenck
Carl A. Schenck on September 1,
1898, on the grounds of George W. Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate.
Another early school was the New York State College of Forestry,
Cornell University just a few weeks later, in September
1898. Early 19th century North American foresters went to Germany to
study forestry. Some early German foresters also emigrated to North
South America the first forestry school was established in Brazil,
in Viçosa, Minas Gerais, in 1962, and moved the next year to become a
faculty at the Federal University of Paraná, in Curitiba.
Forestry education today
List of forestry universities and colleges
List of forestry universities and colleges and List of
forestry technical schools
Prescribed burning is used by foresters to reduce fuel loads
Today, forestry education typically includes training in general
biology, botany, genetics, soil science, climatology, hydrology,
economics and forest management. Education in the basics of sociology
and political science is often considered an advantage.
In India, forestry education is imparted in the agricultural
universities and in
Research Institutes (deemed universities).
Four year degree programmes are conducted in these universities at the
undergraduate level. Masters and Doctorate degrees are also available
in these universities.
In the United States, postsecondary forestry education leading to a
Bachelor's degree or
Master's degree is accredited by the Society of
Canada the Canadian Institute of
Forestry awards silver rings to
graduates from accredited university BSc programs, as well as college
and technical programs.
In many European countries, training in forestry is made in accordance
with requirements of the
Bologna Process and the European Higher
The International Union of
Research Organizations is the only
international organization that coordinates forest science efforts
Main article: Outline of forestry
Close to nature forestry
Deforestation and climate change
History of the forest in Central Europe
International Year of Forests
List of forest research institutes
List of forestry journals
Nonindustrial private forests
Sustainable forest management
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Media related to
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Forestry by country
Universities and colleges
Central African Republic
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Forestry tools and equipment
Tree planting bar (dibble bar)
Tree shelter (Tuley tube)
Froe (shake axe)
Lombard Steam Log Hauler
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Deforestation by country or region
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History of botany
Hypanthium (Floral cup)
Plant growth and habit
Alternation of generations
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International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants
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