MANAGE FORESTS & LAND
  • Forest sustainability refers to the application of strategic management practices to forests to achieve a wide variety of goals. The practices used are environmentally friendly and are scientifically proven to extend the forests’ life to their greatest potential while positively impacting the surrounding ecosystem.

    Forest sustainability can be viewed in a pattern or cycle; however, a forest’s cycle is not linear and can vary depending on the intended use of the forest, natural factors and forest management strategies and tactics.  

    Forest sustainability can take place in many different forms and with varying practices. Attention to every detail throughout the process ensures sustainable management.

    Oversight 

    • Certified forester oversight of land and property projects will also ensure that precautions are taken with the equipment and tactics used.  

    Ecosystem-based management  

    • Forest sustainability can most effectively be achieved when forest management plans are created by or in collaboration with a certified forester. Doing so will ensure that every ecological factor is addressed in the forest management plan. 

    Regenerative practices 

    • Implementing regenerative forestry practices involves harvesting timber and non-timber forest products in a way that maintains the forest’s productivity, biodiversity and ecological integrity over time. This involves adherence to strict practices such as selective logging, soil disturbance minimization, water quality protection and the regeneration of harvested areas.

    Sustainable harvesting

    • Sustainable harvesting can be achieved with the use of several methods including selective harvesting, through which foresters will select and cut down weak trees that will not reach the maturity, height or size of the healthy trees. These weaker trees are cut down because they utilize valuable nutrients that could be used for healthier trees. After being cut down, foresters will locate markets to sell the timber to so that it is not wasted. 

    General cycles in a forests' life include:

     + Stand Planting

    Often, forests are planted in the form of stands, which are divided plots or sections of the forest. Stands provide a sustainable method for forestry as the planting, maintenance and harvesting of each stand is staggered and occur on different timelines. This method allows present wildlife to migrate and adapt more easily when one stand experiences a prescribed burn or is harvested.

     + Forest Management

    Forests are most sustainably managed when a landowner has a forest management plan. This document compiles the unique features of a forest, including present wildlife, tree species, insects, landscape opportunities and limitations and much more. This document should also include important ecological features of the property, including water streams and ponds, as it will guide future projects and equipment mobility to ensure pollution does not occur.

    The creation of a forest management plan can be assisted by your local Texas A&M Forest Service forester. This document is also required for most public land management grants.

    Every forest management tactic, down to the type of equipment used, is considered when practicing forestry sustainably. 

     + Forest Maturity and Health

    A healthy forest is a forest that supports biodiversity, soil health and carbon sequestration while providing bountiful timber products for landowners and managers to sell at the end of their life.

    Healthy forests have: 

    • Rich plant and animal life 
    • Variety of habitats  
    • Trees of different sizes and ages 
    • Clean water 

     

     + Deforestation vs. Timber Harvesting
    •  Cutting down trees is not automatically a bad thing for our environment. When executed correctly in tandem with a forest management plan, harvesting timber can actually benefit the surrounding environment and ecosystem. 
    • There is a major difference between deforestation and timber harvesting:
      • Deforestation is the large-scale removal, and sometimes complete removal, of forests. This is sometimes conducted in an effort to create non-forested areas for urban development, agricultural use and more. 
        • The effects of deforestation are detrimental to the surrounding environment as well as overall global climate health. Deforestation can lead to vast soil erosion, disruption of water cycles, increased gas emissions and loss of biodiversity. In many occasions deforestation causes irreversible damage that can take generations to repair. 
      • Timber Harvesting is the selective extraction of trees for a specific purpose, often conducted in an isolated stand. Timber from this extraction will be used for lumber, paper, construction and many other end products.  
     + Wood Utilization

    Wood from one tree can be used in a multitude of ways. With emerging technology, lumber producers can utilize every aspect of a tree, allowing its potential to be greater than ever before.

    For example, a sawmill that produces lumber may sell excess wood that is not cut to make the lumber. This excess wood can be processed into other materials such as wood shaving for livestock, wood pellets for cooking and covering material for landscaping and agriculture.  

    The practice of utilizing every part of a tree creates both environmental and economic sustainability. 

     + Continued Benefit

    When forestry is practiced sustainably, the end product of harvested timber can provide .

    While end products of forests economically benefit industries and communities, the power of forest sustainability reaches far beyond a dollar value.