A Global Climate Change for Foresters

By Sample, V. Alaric | American Forests, July-August 1991 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Global Climate Change for Foresters

Sample, V. Alaric, American Forests

There is a global climate change affecting forests an forestry, one that has little to do with the green house effect. Important changes are taking place a a rapid rate in the social, economic, and political environment in which forestry professionals operate.

jessica Tuchman Mathews, writing in a recent issue o Foreign Affairs, tells us that international security will soon be defined as much by issues of natural resources and environmental protection as by concerns for military and strategic defense. This prediction is coming true faster than even Mathews foresaw.

Against this backdrop, many in the forestry profession continue to rail at 'the environmentalists' for forcing adjustments in our livelihoods and communities so that certain plant or animal species can have a fighting chance to survive another generation of humanity. But who among us really believes that the sustained and global changes we see in people's values and perceptions of the natural environment are the work of a few shrewd public-relations experts at the Sierra Club or The Wilderness Society? Such groups have merely tapped into a growing shift in society's collective consciousness and articulated it in a number of specific policy issues.

Fundamental concepts of conservation are being redefined. Existing concepts of sustained-yield and multiple-use are regarded as still necessary but no longer sufficient to protect the full range of resource values or maintain stable rural economies. Sustainable development, the watchword of natural-resource management in the 90s, is defined in terms of maximizing current resource use, but not beyond the point at which future options will be reduced. Future generations should have as many options as we have today, among them the chance to enjoy clean air and clean water and to share the earth with the full diversity of species that have so far survived human civilization.

Foresters can play a role in this redefinition, but it will call for a broadening in their perception of themselves and of the resources they are charged to manage and protect. The National Research Council recently assembled a committee of eminent natural scientists from universities and other research organizations around the country. In its report, Forestry Research: A Mandate for Change," the committee called for a fundamental redefinition of forest science. The report's central recommendation was to broaden forestry research from the agricultural model of improving the production of commodities to one of gaining a better understanding of the functioning of healthy forest ecosystems what the report termed an "environmental paradigm. "

This term alone, however, was enough to elicit a negative, response from an influential portion of the forestry profession, which somewhere along the line seems to have defined anyone or anything with the word 'environmental" in it as The Enemy.

If this attitude continues, foresters will see their role as the nation's foremost conservationists continue to erode in the view of the broader public. The tide of change will wash over the forestry profession and render it irrelevant.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Global Climate Change for Foresters


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?