New forest management concept
Existing forest management practices tend towards two poles: on the one hand, a very intensive management approach for forest plantations, often aimed at maximizing productivity of a single species. On the other hand, there are hands-off management practices for intact natural forests, which mainly focus on the harvesting of very few individual high value trees, with very long non-intervention periods between harvests.
Management of a dynamic system of secondary and degraded forests needs to fall between these two extremes. Management systems must consider the forest’s eco-systems, which harbour considerable biodiversity, store and capture carbon, regulate water flows, prevent erosion and restore soils. On the other hand, forests need to provide adequate and reliable incomes for local people to prevent conversion into alternative land use. This is of particular concern when young secondary forests have led to the recovery of degraded land and soils.