Fast-growing plantation forests are broadly defined as having average growth rates ranging from 10 to in excess of 40 m3/ha/yr, with shorter rotations from less than 6 years to around 35 or 40 years. Establishment of fast growing forests is one of the most effective ways to meet the growing demand for wood. Small in area, they are disproportionately significant for global timber supply. They can decrease the pressure to log natural forests and can help protect natural resources such as water, soil and biodiversity. They have the potential to improve the economic welfare of the communities in which they are sited. At the same time, intensively managed, industrial forest plantations of a single species on a short rotation arouse controversy as to their benefits for the community, the land and the environment. Social and environmental needs are increasingly influencing planning and management methods applied to plantations whose original prime objective was the profitable production of industrial wood. This session addresses the overall question of how to best sustainably manage fast growing, industrial plantation forests in a variety of geographic locations and settings, to enhance ecosystem resilience, and ensure that multiple objectives can be met concurrently.
Chair: Dr Verena Griess, Dr Hans Grosse Werner, Dr Carola Paul
Recent research highlights the essential role of planted forests in providing multiple ecosystem goods and services (EGS) to human society. However, there has been little assessment of these EGS due to the lack of an appropriate framework, and knowledge of the tools to make EGS assessments. Researchers, policymakers and society at large have shown considerable enthusiasm and called appropriate approaches, classification and tools to be developed for assessment of EGS from planted forests. Drawing on lessons derived from EGS assessments around the world and consultations with a variety of stakeholders, we propose an easy-to-apply framework to assess EGS from planted forests that will be useful for various plantations types around the world. We recognise that the diverse characteristics of planted forests such as location, purpose, choice of species, rotation, management intensity, local demand and supply situation can influence the provision of EGS from planted forests. We anticipate this framework will be tested in various settings and will provide an important avenue to assess EGS from planted forests.