The 24th IUFRO World Congress, Session 64 What Future for Tropical Silviculture: Forests, Special Issue

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Uncontrolled harvesting, including over harvesting and poor practices, has now been recognized as an important cause of forest degradation and deforestation in the tropics. Sustainable forest management is a major tool to conserve continuous and large areas of natural forests. Sustainability is indeed central to conservation efforts in multi-functional landscapes where natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and maintenance of ecosystem goods and services are shared priorities. In tropical forests from which scattered trees of marketable species are harvested selectively for their timber, attainment of the goal of sustainable management should include maintenance of the full range of ecosystem goods and services and biodiversity, as well as sustaining timber yields. Although most of tropical natural forests harvested for timber will likely not totally recover within the relatively short rotation cycle authorized in most of tropical countries forest policy, they will certainly play a major role in providing goods and services. Tropical silviculture therefore, needs to adapt to meet multiple management objectives, such as logging and Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) within the same forestry production unit. The silviculture of tomorrow will also have to deal with compromises between production of goods (timber, NTFP), conservation of services (biodiversity, carbon) and different stakeholders with different perceptions and objectives. Moreover, tree response to climate changes that could increase air temperature and drought periods in many tropical regions is still poorly known.

Deforestation and bad logging practices have depleted natural timber resources over the last decades and plantation forests now appear to be an important tool for land restoration, resource conservation, and wood production. Fast-growing plantations have been expanding rapidly in tropical regions and supply a growing share of the world demand in woody products. In addition, multi-purpose plantations designed to meet social, economic, and environmental objectives, are likely to provide key ecosystem services. A wide variety of management practices can be used in plantation forests designed both to supply important ecosystem services and to conserve the world’s remaining primary forests.

This special issue will consider papers presenting experimental data on the sustainability of selective logging practices in different parts of the tropics, as well as the role of plantations with native or exotic tree species for both wood production and forest land restoration. We are particularly interested in papers that examine the impacts of tropical silviculture on biodiversity, biomass production and ecological processes in ecosystems of natural and plantation forests. Experimental and modeling studies that contribute to improving our current knowledge of tree responses to climate change will also be welcome. Papers presenting answers to the question “What is the future for tropical silviculture?” at a regional or pan tropical level, are also welcome and encouraged.


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