Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. 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:
A practitioner of forestry is known as a forester. Other common terms are: a verderer, or a silviculturalist. 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.
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 silvicultural plans.
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.
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