SY Portrait - Quotes

Change requires, as inventor Edwin Land used to say, "not so much having a new idea as stopping having an old idea". The all important first step to ecoforestry is awakening to, and evolving past, sustained yield, the 20th century paradigm for resource management.

People most often stop with a shallow and largely favorable idea of sustained yield resource management. This quotes section is a cumulative portrait of SY intended to explode that simple, shallow half-understanding by focusing on the details and implications of SY through the eyes of many different commentators.

The first quotes were put up in Nov 99; the green typed quotes were added Aug 2000 and there are more to come. This section is now more then twenty typed pages so it might be wise to print to read. I’m a sidewinder operator and not an academic and my filing system is as sloppy as the booms I stow but if you need further info on any particular quote e-mail me through questions and comments and I’ll try and help.

"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about."

Union of Concerned Scientists

"Nature designed forests to live 100 to 5000 years. We are designing a forest to live between 60 and 120 years.

Nature continually regenerates diverse forests of single and multiple tree species (usually between one and 10 tree species) including plants, animals, micro-organisms and fungi. We design forests of single and multiple tree species (often planting two or more tree species on the same site) leaving regeneration of other components of the ecosystem to nature.

Nature designed some forests to be connected, and others to be disconnected, "in space and time over vast landscapes." We are designing fragmented forests disconnected in space and time on clearcut patches.

Nature designed a forest to be self-sustaining, self-repairing. We are designing a forest to require external expenditures and subsidies , watershed restoration, brushing, spacing and fertilizers."

Anthony Britneff   RPForum   Oct 97

"The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us."

E.O. Wilson

Different configurations of ideas create different conditions for the treatment of information about ecosystem condition. When a constraining contradiction such as the idea of sustained yield dominates, then information that would reveal the contradiction and upset policy tends to be denied. Concepts that minimize the contradiction are supported; these concepts place barriers in the processing of objective information. In the case of forest management, the timber-dominated paradigm of sustained yield limits information to data on timber types, volume, age structure, and so forth.

Ronald L. Trosper  Policy Transformations In the US Forestry Sector, 1970-2000

"Given the importance of the forest industry to the provincial economy however, timber production will remain a priority."

former Deputy Forests Minister John Allan

Evidence points to a common cause behind past failures of investments in sustainable development. Historically, the management of forest, rangelands, fisheries, and wildlife resources was dominated by theories of carrying capacity and goals of sustainable yield. Human behavior was ignored. The application of these theories led to the expectation that target variables such as employment could be stabilized and created a demand for a constant flow of product. These policies were successful initially, and profit and employment were, in fact, stabilized. But their very success resulted in slow changes in key ecological, social, and cultural components not captured in the management models: changes that typically led to the collapse of the entire system. The "economic extinction" of cod along the coast of eastern North America is a prime example. From a review of a wide range of failed sustainable development initiatives, a common pathology emerges. At the extreme, the ecological system loses resilience, the industries become dependent and inflexible, the management agencies become rigid and myopic, and the public loses trust in governance

C.S. Holling Conservation Ecolgy website Dec 2000

"The practice of forestry… is currently undergoing the most profound and rapid change since its establishment a century ago. The evolution from sustained yield management of a relatively small number of commercial tree species to the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems is changing some of the fundamental premises of forest management.


"The instrument, the knife, that carved out the new, rudimentary forest was the razor-sharp interest in the production of a single commodity. Everything that interfered with the efficient production of the key commodity was implacably eliminated. Everything that seemed unrelated to efficient production was ignored. Having come to see the forest as a commodity, scientific forestry set about refashioning it as a commodity machine. Utilitarian simplification in the forest was an effective way of maximizing wood production in the short and intermediate term. Ultimately, however, its emphasis on yield and paper profits, its relatively short time horizon, and, above all, the vast array of consequences it had resolutely bracketed came back to haunt it."


"Ecological forestry that maintains an effective coarse filter differs markedly from the ‘engineering’ approach common under sustained-yield timber management. Under that model, foresters try to define precise objectives for specific ecosystem components (e.g., trees, water, habitat for a particular endangered species) and use sophisticated quantitative methods to determine optimal management strategies. Though it can be considered appropriate for certain narrowly defined problems, we believe that there is a certain arrogance to such an approach to managing forests for biodiversity. It assumes a near- perfect understanding of the ecosystems under management."

Robert Seymour and M.L. Hunter Maintaining Biodiversity in Forest Ecosystems (p.29)

"The rights to harvest BC forest lands are distributed to companies through a system of tenures, which are predominantly volume-based Forest License (FLs), and area-based Tree Farm Licenses (TFLs) (Figure 1). The "tenure system" and accompanying sustained yield policies existing in BC limit changes companies can make to the amount of timber they harvest and where they can harvest it. The tenure system is based on creating a long-run sustained yield of fibre in the province, and is predicated on the "liquidation conversion" project in which old growth forests are converted into faster growing second growth forests based on an 80 year rotation cycle. Absent changes to the tenure system and annual allowable cut calculations, old growth forests will necessarily have to be part of most forest harvesting."

Politics Within Markets     Cashore, Auld and Newsom

“The difficulties with the sustainable yield concept have emerged most clearly in fisheries ecology. According to Larkin maximum sustainable yield exploitation (MSY) results in a large number of expected and unexpected complications, such as spawning populations becoming dominated by first time spawners, possible reduction of egg quality, increase in catastrophic risk to populations through a failure in egg or larval survival, and the removal of less productive components of natural populations. ‘It may be necessary,’ he writes, ‘to compromise MSY in order to preserve genetic variability’ (1977, p.4). Harvesting desirable species increases numbers of less desirable species, as is too evident in fisheries history. The fisheries case points to the complexity of species interaction in ecological systems. ‘It does not seem likely,’ Larkin adds, ‘that an MSY based on the analysis of the historic statistics of a fishery is really attainable on a sustained basis.’”

Paul Christensen   Driving Forces, Increasing Returns and Ecological Sustainability
Ecological Economics (Robert Costanza, ed)

"Two broad schools of thought exist regarding landscape planning. In one, future landscape patterns are described in specific desired products (e.g., wood fiber, habitat) and known ecosystem processes. The theme can be summarized as ‘we know what we want and we know how to get it’.

In the other approach, future patterns are based upon historic patterns to the degree feasible. This point of view reflects the fact that we cannot even name all the species in the landscape, much less rationally plan for their habitat needs and ecosystem functions. A premise of this approach is that native species have adapted to the disturbance events and resulting range of habitat patterns of the past thousands of years. The probability of their survival is reduced if their environment deviates substantially from the range of historic conditions."

Cissel, Swanson, McKee and Burditt Journal of Forestry

“Containing the idea of ecosystems required an alternative forest definition. In the Forest Service and in forestry schools, the alternative defined any forest is a collection of stands.. The primary decision in forest management is selection of the schedule of harvests among the stands. Cross-stand events are excluded. With the exact location of the stands unknown, impacts on other forest uses--streams, views, wildlife--cannot be identified. This conception of the forest as a collection of stands means that any collection of stands can be a forest.”

Ronald L. Trosper  Policy Transformations In the US Forestry Sector, 1970-2000

"The volume of wood harvested annually is probably the single most important decision affecting a forest property or region. Forest managers have typically used one of two forest regulation methods: volume control, typically associated with forests under an uneven-aged management; or area control, used in forests of single- or two cohort stands. Area-based approaches have one outcome in mind: a perfectly rectangular age distribution, with equal areas in each age class up to the rotation, and none older - the so-called ‘normal’ or perfectly regulated forest. As computer technology has evolved, complex harvest scheduling models have emerged which combine both methods. Forest regulation under sustained-yield timber management has always attempted to maximize wood volumes harvested over time, subject to long-run sustainability constraints that may or may not include ecological parameters."

Robert Seymour and M.L. Hunter Maintaining Biodiversity in Forest Ecosystems (p.47)

"Current standards represent the protection of environmental and cultural values as constraints on managing the timber resource. Current standards do not effectively integrate ecosystem and cultural values. Nor do they adequately address requirements for ecosystem sustainability, harmonious stewardship of all resources, and the needs of future generations.

Historical approaches to forest management have focused largely on products rather than on the biological systems from which these products derive. In Clayoquot Sound, as elsewhere in British Columbia, sustaining timber production has historically taken precedence over maintaining forest ecosystems.

The Panel believes that forests should be managed as ecosystems, rather than as potential products, and that forest practices should not put at risk the long-term health of forest ecosystems. "Sustainable ecosystem management" is characterized by resource management practices that are scientifically based, ecologically sound, and socially responsible.

The Scientific Panel’s recommendations are among the first efforts taken to shift forestry from its historical focus on sustaining output levels for specific forest products to a focus on sustaining forest ecosystems."

Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel

"… the Forest Practices Code is completely within the sustained yield paradigm"

former Deputy Forests Minister Gerry Armstrong

"Although forests are constantly changing, the extent and spatial distribution of stand structures can be classified at any particular moment in time, in terms of the composition and size of different tree species and of understory vegetation, the presence of debris and the successional stage. Industrial forestry generally results in the reduction of ‘late-seral’ structures, i.e., older stands characterized by large trees and a partially open canopy, rich in snags, downed logs and other debris which support a diverse understory vegetation and wildlife habitat. Prevailing forest management systems tend to result in a large share of stands in the ‘competition exclusion’ stage, in which the vigorous growth of young trees produces a tightly closed canopy with little understory vegetation. Relatively few species can thrive in such conditions. Using such indicators as proxies for biological diversity, forest conditions can be tracked over time and significant deviations from historic patterns can be quantified."

Bruce Lippke and Joshua Bishop Maintaining Biodiversity in Forest Ecosystems (p.612)

"There is sustained yield management in the forests of Canada. All ten provinces have proclaimed they are following a sustained yield policy, and they own 80% of the forest area. The federal government has stated it operates on a policy of sustained yield, thereby accounting for a further 11% of the Canadian forests. Private woodlot owners say they practice sustained yield, and that adds another 8%. Industrial forest land holdings make up the remaining 1% of the forest area in Canada, and the industry has also stated a policy of sustained yield. That appears to account for 100% of the forests of Canada."

Gordon Baskerville Forestry Chronicle

"Nature designed a forest as an experiment in unpredictability… We are trying to design a regulated forest. … Nature designed a forest of long-term trends….We are trying to design a forest of short-term absolutes….Nature designed a forest with diversity….We are designing a forest with simplistic uniformity….Nature designed a forest with interrelated processes….We are trying to design a forest based on isolated products."

Chris Maser The Redesigned Forest

"The basis of most forest management in B.C. is the sustained yield concept. … Although sustained yield does not represent the ultimate management policy, it is so well entrenched in B.C. forestry that the concept will be in use for many years."

The Forest Handbook of B.C

“Large-scale industrial tenure arrangements in Canada have been developed in order to promote sustained yield forestry, which is based upon the principle of converting old growth forests into second growth stands, but are not always appropriate for addressing the more complex requirements of sustainable forest management, which aims to ensure that the ecological integrity of the forest is maintained. Other factors – community benefits, Aboriginal rights, non-timber forest products and services – become characterized as constraints rather than opportunities.  At the same time, existing tenure arrangements in Canada have received intense scrutiny and criticism for their trade-distorting impacts inasmuch as they provide large companies with fibre at costs that are significantly less than the true market value.”

Mirbach, Ellis, Purdon   Walking the Talk


"As mills were built for the liquidation of old growth, mill capacity usually exceeded the long-term prospect for harvest of timber from the national forests. The investment in capital, labor skills, and other components of the private economies next to forests were not configured with long-term sustainability. Rather, the local economies were oriented to the use of mature timber. The Forest Service became enamored of the idea of "intensive forestry," the idea that with intensive management and manipulation of the forest, high cuts consistent with the actual cuts could be sustained. National political and economic leaders demanded increases in the cut, which the assumptions of intensive management could justify (Hirt 1994)."

Ronald L. Trosper Policy Transformations In the US Forestry Sector, 1970-2000

"(T)he very long planning horizon of timber supply policy creates acute path dependency. That is, we are now living with the consequences of timber supply decisions taken decades ago that forces us along a particular path chosen then. To retrace our steps and reopen possibilities that were rejected by those early decision makers would be expensive or even impossible. Path dependency reinforces the technical character of timber supply analysis by foreclosing or, at least, putting serious obstacles in the way of radical change in direction."

Jeremy Rayner, The Timber Supply Review IN SEARCH OF SUSTAINABILITY

"Liquidation of all old growth primary forest has been explicit government policy in British Columbia since 1945."

Janet Abramovitz Worldwatch Institute

"Perhaps the greatest challenges of all lie in the realm of the social contract. Old understandings seem to be null and void: who, today, would champion the traditional role of a professional "priesthood" entrusted with resource management? Who would turn to science and technology as the ultimate sources of wisdom. The future of the coastal temperate rain forest requires professionals, citizens, and communities to become more deeply involved in management of natural resources, and we have not figured out how to make that happen without rancor…"

M. Patricia Marchak and Jerry F. Franklin Forward The Rain Forests of Home

"The primary goal of resource management - sustained yield - evolved from the utilitarian values of the Progressive Era. Intuitively, sustained yield is a logical and laudable goal: no more is taken than can be replenished. As it has come to be implemented, however, the concept of sustained yield has been modified to mean taking the maximum supply a system can withstand (i.e., the furthest point to which production can be pushed without impairment of the resource’s ability to reproduce). One of our colleagues calls this ‘management at the edge of harm’."

The Politics Of Ecosystem Management Hanna Cortner and Margaret A. Moote

"This section has attempted to demonstrate that the question of overcutting hinges on the goals of timber supply policy, which, for most of this period, were the goals of sustained yield timber management modified by the decision to liquidate the province’s natural forests in a single rotation. However, different conceptions of the problem to which this variant of cooperative sustained yield is supposed to be the solution result in each interest having a rather different conception and ordering of these goals and hence a different understanding of the objective in view. A managed forest can only be overcut in relation to a management objective. If there is general agreement about management objectives, it is a relatively simple matter to determine whether too much (or too little) wood is being cut to achieve these objectives. However, the presence of different goals and goal rankings in the policy community means the potential for irreconcilable disputes on this issue.

" Very early on, as royal commissions reveal, such disputes arose between the forester’s goal of maximizing biologically sustainable fibre production, the government’s goal of maximizing a sustained stream of general revenue, and the forest companies’ goal of short-term profitability and freedom to respond to business opportunities. These disputes were resolved through a process of accommodation within the policy community without disturbing the subsectoral regime. However, the appearance of a more complex goal of ecological sustainability was altogether more serious. Not only did it threaten to bring new actors and new ideas into the subsector and to put more downward pressure on the AACs, but it was not all clear that the basic instrument of yield regulation around which the old actors were organized was suitable to achieve such ecological objectives as biodiversity conservation."

Jeremy Rayner The Timber Supply Review IN SEARCH OF SUSTAINABILITY

"….those who see forests primarily as sources of fibre and are committed to the commercial development of the resource remain on the policy track laid down after the Second World War. The forest industry and the ministry continue to implement what can be called the liquidation - conversion project, a set of policies aimed at achieving a controlled liquidation of old growth forests and their conversion into managed second growth plantations. Despite two decades of intense debate over forest policy, both harvest levels and the proportion of the harvest that is clearcut have increased dramatically since the 1970s. The busy air of policy innovation may simply mark the final stages of the liquidation - conversion project, amounting to nothing more than a sophisticated symbolic politics that serves to contain environmental opposition."

Ken Lertzman, Jeremy Rayner, Jeremy Wilson

"If 20th century forestry was about simplifying systems, producing wood, and managing at the stand level, 21st century forestry will be defined by understanding and managing complexity, providing a wide range of ecological goods and services, and managing across broad landscapes…managing for wholeness rather than for the efficiency of individual components."

Kohm And Franklin Creating A Forestry For the 21th Century

"New ideas were certainly not lacking. Conservation issues had appeared on that larger agenda, for which traditional yield analysis methodologies seemed irrelevant. Even more threatening from the subsectoral policy community’s point of view, alternative models were also available in which timber supply was treated as a residual after habitat protection and biodiversity conservation. But what we learn from the TSR1 case is the impotence of new ideas if the actors promoting them are successfully excluded from policy formation. With help from some noisy interventions in the wider politics stream, the traditional policy community was able to maintain a focus on sustaining short-term employment and revenue as the key policy problems in this subsector, problems for which improved yield regulation seemed far and away the most plausible solution. The alternative models, stigmatized as experimental and untested, were kept off the restricted selection of policy alternatives that made up the actual decision space for government. As this chapter has emphasized, the decision space was already bounded by the nature of the issue itself, characterized by acute path dependency as a result of the very long planning horizons of forest management and the consequent need to take account of timber supply decisions made many decades before. "

Jeremy Rayner The Timber Supply Review IN SEARCH OF SUSTAINABILITY

"All plans and activities must protect, maintain, and restore (where necessary) a fully functioning forest ecosystem at all temporal and spatial scales. Forest composition, structures, and functioning must be maintained, from the largest landscape to the smallest forest community, in both short and long terms."

Herb Hammond Silva Forest Foundation

"Sloan’s major recommendation was to establish a sustained yield program that would give forest companies long-term harvesting rights over large tracts of publicly owned forest land in return for a commitment that they practice sustained yield management. Sloan also argued that this new system would give large BC forest companies a competitive edge over their European competitors. Sloan’s sustained yield recommendations were adopted by the provincial government, resulting in an important spillover from the AAC subsector to the timber pricing subsector."

"The new sustained yield policy largely spelled the death knell of competitive bidding as a timber pricing policy instrument in the province. A decision had been made to give companies the same proportion of harvest they had before this program. Each established company was given a quota in which they had effective cutting rights over new tenure arrangements. Huge, nonrefundable bidding fees were set for firms that wished to outbid a company with a quota in a certain area. As Schwindt notes, " Within twenty years of implementation of sustained yield in British Columbia, competitive markets for the timber resource were closed."


"...(T)he concept of conservation ecology is often limited to a protectionist agenda: buy, fence, and lock up as much as possible of the natural world. But fences rot and locks rust. Arbitrary lines drawn on a map have always faded in time; just ask a Cherokee. The critical challenge for science, and our species, demands that we abolish intellectual barriers, crush limited paradigms, and take the broadest possible view of the problem."

O’Neill, Kahn, Russell

"In a sense, the need for integration is also the lesson of the old paradigm's failure. The paradigm failed because it oversimplified a complex reality. It is still not clearly understood that the oversimplification took two forms. First, the sustained - yield paradigm failed to understand the complexity of forest ecosystems, systematically downgrading the mounting evidence of soil erosion, biodiversity loss and disappearing habitat as so many anomalies to be handled by doing better in future. Second, it failed to come to terms with the fact that sustainability is as much a social as an ecological problem. Sustained - yield forestry is only a problem to the extent that it fails to provide us with what we want from our forests. It continues to be defended precisely because it is providing some people with exactly what they want.

Jeremy Rayner Implementing sustainability in west coast forests Journal of Canadian Studies

"EM (ecosystem management) technology will probably emerge as more important to people than either the technology of the communications revolution or biotechnology because of its potential usefulness in guaranteeing a livable environment"

John Gordon, Yale University

"(D)ecisions made when the sustained yield paradigm was established after the Second World War set the province on a path that has been and will continue to be extremely costly and disruptive to reverse."

Cashore et al. Change and Stability in BC Forest Policy IN SEARCH OF SUSTAINABILITY

"At it’s core, though, this is a story of attempts by political and economic elites to contain a movement that challenges assumptions and practices deeply embedded in the forest economy’s history. The environmental movement calls into question an economic culture premised on drawing down inherited natural resource capital. By arguing that the province’s forests should be seen as something more than a stockpile of wealth to be used by the people of the province, environmentalists challenge the province’s long dependence on old growth liquidation. In so doing, they most threaten those who perceive their economic futures to depend directly on continued liquidation of forest wealth."

Jeremy Wilson Talk And Log

"Sustained yield is not the same thing as sustainability. You could produce a sustained yield of timber (for several rotations anyway) without practicing sustainable forestry…Managing for a consistent and sustained supply of one commodity does not ensure that all other commodities and values will be maintained. Nor is the concept of sustained yield particularly appropriate for forests as ecosystems. Even if one includes all known non-timber forest products and all aspects of ‘wildcrafting’, most components of forest biodiversity are not harvestable resources…Nevertheless, natural resources have continued to be managed (or mismanaged) under the rubric of sustained yield in one form or another, and the histories of forestry, fisheries, and wildlife management show similar patterns [of resource depletion]."

Pojar et al. Silvicultural Options on the Central Coast draft BC MoF 1999

"It was in this context that the concept of the regulated forest came into being. Under this concept, forests were to be managed to yield periodic, regular, and sustainable timber harvest volumes. The objective of sustainable timber harvest by itself, however, does not generate a unique harvest level, since there are a variety of harvest levels from any given forest that allow timber to be sustainably harvested. However, the objective of maximizing the sustainable volume of the sustained yield harvests does generate a unique result. For even-aged stands, such an approach sets the length of rotation according to a biological rule, which determines that harvest occur when the mean of the annual increment of growth in the stand reaches a maximum (culmination of mean annual increment). This approach recognizes that trees begin their growth slowly, with only modest increases in annual volume, then increase their growth at an increasing rate, and finally, beyond some age, begin to experience a decline in annual additions to tree volume. The culmination of mean annual increment rule gives the rotation age at which the sustainable harvest volume will be maximized. The harvest level is determined using Hanzlich's Formula, which divides the net growth over the entire area of the economic enterprise by the rotation length and indicates the average annual volume of timber that can be removed on a sustainable basis."

Alaric Sample and Roger Sedjo Sustainability in Forest Management: An Evolving Concept

"The major change in forestry thinking wrought by EM has been the abandonment of the concept of a stable flow of wood from the land as a universally dominant management objective. As an environmental paradigm replaces utilitarian, conservation, and preservation paradigms in land managers’ and the public’s view of the landscape, the management of whole systems for a variety of purposes rather than commodity flows or single resources (including "wilderness") will become increasingly overt and explicit. EM will differ from multiple-use management in focusing on inputs, interactions, and processes, as well as uses and outputs."

John C. Gordon, Yale University

"The evolutionary paradigm is different from the conventional optimization paradigm popular in economics in at least four important respects (Arthur 1988): 1) evolution is path dependent, meaning that the detailed history and dynamics of the system are important; 2) evolution can achieve multiple equilibria; 3) there is no guarantee that optimal efficiency or any other optimal performance will be achieved due in part to path dependence and sensitivity to perturbations; and 4) ‘lock-in’ (survival of the first rather than survival of the fittest) is possible under conditions of increasing returns. While, as Arthur (1988) notes "conventional economic theory is built largely on the assumption of diminishing returns on the margin (local negative feedbacks)" life itself can be characterized as a positive feedback, self-reinforcing, autocatalytic process (Kay 1991, GŸnther and Folke 1993) and we should expect increasing returns, lock-in, path dependence, multiple equilibria and sub-optimal efficiency to be the rule rather than the exception in economic and ecological systems."

Costanza et al. Modeling Complex Ecological Economic Systems. BioScience 1993

"When systems are pushed outside the bounds of natural variability, there is a substantial risk that biological diversity and ecological function will be jeopardized and therefore, ecological systems will not be naturally maintained."

Ayn Shlisky Journal of Forestry

"Tensions over ecosystem management are at their starkest in cases where environmentalists and their allies contend that harvesting plans endorsed by the industry and other parts of the development coalition involve a rate of logging too high to allow protection of ecosystem characteristics. Anxious to maintain harvest levels, the industry and its supporters usually adopt as their first line of defence a set of responses based upon the sustained yield – multiple use (integrated management) discourse that was employed to legitimate operations through out the 1970s and 1980s. Industry spokespersons argue that their harvesting practices are designed to sustain the timber supply and protect other important forest values such as wildlife, viewscapes, and riparian zones. Where this response fails to neutralize pressure for ecosystem management, industry interests usually begin to explore what might be referred to as ‘old wine in new bottles’ strategies.

"Typically these combine symbolic manoevering with limited substantive concessions. Elements of the ecosystem management discourse are incorporated into rejigged defences of the practices, and if necessary, these practices are adjusted with an eye to convincing at least the undecided portions of the attentive public that these constructions are credible. Throughout this exercise, industry interests try to create and capitalize on the ambiguity surrounding ecosystem management concepts, hoping to maintain a set of meanings loose enough to allow limited modifications of the practice to be sold as a genuine response to new ideas. Ultimately, the development coalition aims to neutralize pressures for policy change by winning support for the claim that it has brought practices into line with the standards embodied in the ascendant discourse."

Jeremy Wilson in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"As conceived in the Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act, within the limits set by ecological sustainability, land and resource planning was to seek the achievement and maintenance in perpetuity of high levels or regular periodic outputs of the various renewable resources of the national forests. Two realities make this approach problematic. First, the dynamics of ecosystems means that scheduling a regular, predictable output of a single product probably will fail because productivity varies through time. For example, experience has shown the difficulty of achieving even flow when management focuses upon maintenance of a high level of production of a short list of outputs (such as wood fiber and forage). Second, an even flow can be sustained under variability, but it often comes by over-exploiting the system's productivity (e.g., by harvesting more than is produced annually) or by impairing other ecosystem elements (e.g., grazing under conditions that cause erosion). When managed this way, National Forests appear to promise a stability of commodity flow that they can not deliver, and public expectations are raised about the long-term capability of the land and likely resource flows. At the extreme, forests managed this way become subject to catastrophic surprises when unusual, but natural, events occur (e.g., greatly increased flooding and landslides during heavy rains). Communities that grow dependent on artificially high or constant commodity flows can eventually suffer the same catastrophic surprises--losing all semblance of sustainability."

Committee of Scientists Third Draft Preliminary Report July 98

"(FORPLAN) was designed to help estimate even flow levels of timber output through time while recognizing other Forest Service objectives by putting in certain constraints and manipulating various inputs. When you go from measuring sustained yield of outputs to sustaining processes and functions of the ecosystem, you really change your whole orientation and how you think about the problem. FORPLAN was not set up to deal with this latter view of sustainability."

Norm Johnson, FORPLAN creator, Gang of Four

"As ecologists grapple with the incipient science of ecosystem management, so resource managers are beginning to grapple with what amounts to a fundamental shift in the way they conceive of and manage forest resources. After more than a century as the guiding principal of forestry, ‘sustained yield management’ of a few commercial tree species is evolving and gradually being replaced by another principal: the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, taking into consideration the full array of plant and animal species that occupy these complex natural communities."

V. Alaric Sample Introduction Remote Sensing and GIS in Ecosystem Management

"There are currently many plans for sustainable use or sustainable development that are founded upon scientific information and consensus. Such ideas reflect ignorance of the history of resource exploitation and misunderstanding of the possibility of achieving scientific consensus concerning resources and the environment. Although there is considerable variation in detail, there is remarkable consistency in the history of resource exploitation: resources are inevitably overexploited, often to the point of collapse or extinction."

Carl Walters, Donald Ludwig, Ray Hilbor

"Historically, the development of forest policy in many countries, including Canada and the United States, has been influenced by the concept of sustained yield. Sustained yield principles are as old as the forestry profession itself and, to a great extent, provide the ethical foundation upon which it is built. Policies designed to promote sustained yield forestry are firmly entrenched in all Canadian jurisdictions and pervade almost every aspect of forest management."

David Haley and Martin Luckert in Managing Natural Resources in BC

A good example of a policy that might be portrayed as precautionary, but is not and should be reformed, is the traditional approach of taking the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) from a fishery.

The MSY approach to managing fisheries involves creating a bell-shaped curve to determine the total advisable catch of a targeted stock. In theory, as long as the catch remains on the ascending side of the curve, increased fishing will yield a larger sustainable take. But once the catch moves to the downside of the curve, more fishing will mean less catch because of undue thinning of the population's ability to replenish itself. Managers thus strive to remain at the peak of the curve, known as the MSY plateau.

Yet it has been shown time and again that MSY is very difficult to predict and that damage is done by overfishing. Commercial fish populations fluctuate considerably, and often unpredictably, because of ever-changing ocean conditions. Meanwhile, industry attempts to stay at the peak of a historically determined MSY curve have led to dramatic collapses. Rather than give due regard to conservation for the long term, MSY management practices seek to maximize short-term exploitation of the sea.

Wilder, Tegner and Dayton

"Those advancing anthropocentric (or softer, less biocentric) definitions (of ecosystem management ) are criticized for offering a na´ve, ‘we can have our cake and eat it too’ position that dilutes ecosystem management into something closely resembling discredited concepts such as multiple use and integrated resource management. It is easy, critics say, to ‘cheery pick’ a few elements from the list of ecosystem management goals and principles. Full and genuine adoption of this list, however, would require and/or entail a comprehensive package of changes, a ‘seismic shift’ in mindset that would overturn assumptions and practices based upon utilitarianism and the ‘commodity forest’ and replace them with ones based on a Leopoldian land ethic and the ‘environmental forest’. Out would go the tacit assumptions underlying traditional resource management practices including '‘earth as a resource for humans, competition over cooperation, control in place of adaptation, viewing all problems as soluble, and viewing nature as stable or balanced. In would come contextual thinking, management premised on complex conceptions of ecological and organizational systems, and new approaches ‘based upon the science of surprise, complexity and non-linearity."

Jeremy Wilson in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"In recent years the province’s established strategy of pursuing a policy of ‘sustained yield’, ensuring that investment in secondary regeneration and man-aged forests runs at levels adequate to offset the loss of old growth, has been seriously questioned. The BC forest sector has come under sustained attack from three principal sources: environmentalists concerned that a unique ecology is being irreparably damaged by inappropriate public sector resource management; First Nations pursuing the settlement of land claims that question the right of the provincial government to grant timber harvesting licences in their traditional areas; and forest industry interests in the USA. The last contend that the pricing regime operated by the BC government offers a hidden subsidy to its own wood producers, enabling them to capture an unfair share of the US market for their lumber (on these issues see, for example, McKee, 2000; Sizer, 2000; Green & Matthaus, 2001)."

Jackson and Curry Forest Renewal British Columbia Journal of Environmental Planning and Management July 02

"Sustained yield policies are designed to ration the periodic consumption of a renewable resource to fall within its periodic growth (Behan 1990). In the United States, the U.S. Forest Service is mandated to manage the National forests to sustain the production of an array of forest products. However, in Canadian jurisdictions, the focus has been, and remains, on timber. Forest policies in Canadian provinces are designed around an ideal, which was imported from Europe early in this century, of the fully regulated normal forest. Such a forest is structured, with respect to age, size class distribution, and stocking, so that it is capable of producing an equal annual or periodic yield of wood in perpetuity. A normal forest is in equilibrium in that periodic growth equals periodic harvests."

David Haley and Martin Luckert in Managing Natural Resources in BC

"…the acknowledgment of a timber supply falldown and the adoption of multiple use and public involvement following the 1975 Royal Commission did not really alter the sustained yield policy in any substantial way. The central goal of sustained yield, and multiple use, was the maximum production of timber, …. The AAC did not need to be reduced, in fact, just the opposite was true - there were opportunities for increased production. Despite environmental concerns and the warning of future scarcity, the annual timber harvest on crown lands actually increased by forty to fifty per cent in the period following the 1975 Royal Commission."

Lois Dellert  Sustained Yield Forestry In British Columbia

" It has been customary to open discussions of forest practices by noting that since the release of the Bruntland Report in 1987 the phrase ‘sustainable development’ has been added to the vocabulary of forest managers. The phrase was the centerpiece of Sustainable Forests: A Canadian Commitment, the report published by the National Forest Strategy Committee in 1992. For forestry this general principle demands moving beyond the long held view that the essence of good forest management was maintaining a ‘sustained yield’ (of wood products) from the forests. Instead, good management will see the value of forests as also resting in uses other than timber production. The implications of this more holistic view include a more participatory decision-making environment. In the words of a Saskatchewan environment and resource management report: ‘Forests must be viewed and understood as ecosystems performing a variety of interrelated functions that can only be sustained if the integrity of the ecosystem is protected The process for making forest land use decisions must be expanded to seek a balance amongst the interests of all parties with a stake in the outcome.’ Here we consider the extent to which the legislative-managerial frameworks for forest use have endorsed the more holistic view called for by sustainable development. In this sort of discussion we would be prudent to recall what Wilson said earlier about the stages of the policy cycle and the difficulties that those who favour change face in seeing the gains made at the problem-definition and agenda-setting stage sustained in the policy formation and implementation stages."

Ian Urquhart in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"Despite uncertainties in our knowledge and methodological imperfections, ecosystem management provides a conservative, reasoned approach to sustaining relatively whole, functional ecosystems in the face of accelerating global change. The increasingly apparent cumulative impacts of exponential human population growth and escalating resource consumption highlight the need to move toward such ecology-based approaches to landscape management if we are to maintain the ecosystem services and amenities we need and value."

Craig D. Allen in Remote Sensing and GIS in Ecosystem Management

"B.C. is conducting a vast, province-wide experiment with its forests, converting them from wild, idiosyncratic, resilient ecosystems to less variable, more predictable (maybe), managed ecosystems."

Pojar, J. and K. Price BC Forest Service, Research Branch

"The emerging coniferous wood supply crisis during the sustained yield policy regime was principally the result of two factors: overharvesting and poor regeneration. Paradoxically, the new science of forestry was instrumentalin contributing to the wood supply crisis. At the time, the science of forestry determined the annual rates of extraction for each species or group of species mainly ( although not only) by their rate of growth. But these so called annual allowable yields were thoroughly manipulable and heavily influenced by the industry’s objective to maximize an economic return on investment. The forest industry, thus, consistently overharvested the forest. This overharvesting showed up most clearly in the mounting costs incurred by the pulp and paper companies in transporting wood to their mills from increasingly distant locations.

"The science of forestry contributed to the overharvesting in other ways. The age distribution of Ontario’s boreal forest was considered skewed, that is, overrepresented by mature and overmature stands, a condition to which prior fire suppression may have contributed. In order to correct this situation, forest managers used the so-called acceleration factor to cut above the rate of growth. The intent was to ‘normalize’ the age distribution of the forest. In principle, this practice was intended to soften the future inevitable reduction in available timber after all original timber stands had been cut over. In fact, this practice encouraged forest companies to continue their preference for cutting previously uncut forest lands instead of tending and cutting well-managed secondary growth closer to home: it was mostly the rationale that had changed."

Lawson et el. In Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"In addition to these relatively concrete, large-scale concerns, several analytic and normative concerns raise questions about the status of many stock assessments. Whereas stock assessments invariably focus on spatially limited domains, large scale and even global issues are rising to the forefront as causes of concern. A good example involves the growing interest in the protection of biological diversity. The role of stock assessments in this connection is far from clear. It is unknown whether it is possible to scale up from models of individual stocks to regional and ultimately global processes. Moreover, stock assessments rest on a perspective that values maximizing the productivity of individual stocks of targeted species. The pursuit of broader values, such as maintaining biological diversity, may not fit well into this perspective. It is likely that prescriptions aimed at maximizing biological diversity will conflict with efforts to achieve maximum sustainable yields from individual fish stocks.[12] This does not mean that stock assessments and the models on which they are based are defective in their own terms. But it does mean that managers, and especially policy makers, will have compelling reasons to supplement or even supplant stock assessments as a basis for making a range of decisions about how humans interact with the environment."

Oran Young Taking Stock Environment April 03

"Sustained yield and sustainable development are unquestionably in conflict. Attitudes, policies, and management strategies that evolved to serve the sustained yield ideal are, in many respects, outmoded. Sustainable development demands that timber primacy be replaced by a concern for forests’ contribution to human welfare in the broadest sense….

The emphasis must shift from maintaining timber supplies over the long run to maintaining a multitude of resource values that are dependent upon site productivity, ecosystem, ecosystem health, integrity, and diversity."

David Haley and Martin Luckert in Managing Natural Resources in BC

"Sustaining the yield of a single resource is based on the concept of equilibrium - that is , balance between growth and harvest can be sustained in perpetuity …However the sustained yield idea simple does not fit contemporary circumstances. A different paradigm of forest management is required in a society where change is ubiquitous, rapid and encouraged; where a scarcity of wood products has failed to materialize; and where the forest is appreciated for an array of commodity and amenity values."

R.W. Behan  Journal Of Forestry

"The industrial-government interests constitute the principal promoters and users of Crown lands, and their dual goal is to extract as much fibre from the forest as possible while viewing other forest uses as mere constraints on extraction. These actors are of overwhelming political importance in determining policy over the large majority of the province’s forest lands, Crown lands making up 88 per cent of the total provincial forest area. Initially, these actors harvested the wood supply with little concern for regeneration. Between the beginning of the twentieth century and the Great Depression, the mounting scale of timber extraction, most notable in the pulp and paper industry of the northwest, was forcing many observers to question the ongoing viability of this difference. After the Second World War, however, the provincial government built up a professional bureaucracy, which used the new goals and theories of forest science and more interventionist means to intensify the process. In paying more attention to extending the benefits of the forest as a resource into the future, this constituency understood its purpose as the continuance of a complex renewable resource. At its most visionary, it foresaw forest conservation; at its most narrow, it foresaw sustained yields of timber alone."

Lawson et el. In Howlett CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"Forestry was motivated by scarcity and its goal was to support a forest-based economy by maximizing production and regulating the forest to provide a continuous supply of wood. Its policy of sustained yield was influenced by the scientific movement which believed the world operated according to universal rules and could be efficiently and rationally managed to capture its full potential and re-structured to achieve stability through order. The core ideas were efficiency and stability."

Lois Dellert  Sustained Yield Forestry In British Columbia

"The growing demand for forest products led the government to quickly take measures to manipulate the forest cover to obtain more wood or to justify larger harvests. To attain increased productivity, forest policy tried to change to make industry more responsible in exploiting the forest in a manner that redistributes the stock of trees on its areas. Under the mechanical interpretation, harvesting the forest is to be structured in such a way that after a transition period, average annual growth is maximized. This is what is meant by ‘normalizing the forest.’ The policy has two objectives. One is always to try and support industry. The second, however, is to ensure that the commercial forest has the maximum quantity of available wood for harvesting. The forest becomes a variable factor of production. The ‘normal’ forest, where each age class of tree occupies the same space over time, is the desired goal because it represents a condition of social stability and maximizes all the functions of the forest.

" This model of a normal forest raises a number of questions. The idea that an even flow of wood could stabilize human communities betrays, once more, a lack of understanding of economics. Normalization does not take into account the profit motive of mills, where the wood is transformed, although the pursuit of profit is a basic rule of business. We find rhetorical and mysterious the assertion that the normal forest would eventually lead to a situation in which all the functions of the ecosystem are optimized. It does have the trappings of an ecosystem approach. Nevertheless, in our view, the objective of the normal forest, or the normalization of the forest, is merely an elegant way to justify an increase in allowable cuts without increasing the responsibilities of industry."

Luc Boutillier in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"Because the environmental movement accepted incremental reforms within the dominant paradigm of continued industrial forestry, rather than insisting on structural reforms to the whole model of production and regulation, the movement is now tangled within a model of forestry that is clearly unecological, and is disempowered as a force for piercing the curtain of green rhetoric."

Michael M’Gonigle  Alternatives

"To keep the Alberta experience restricted to Alberta, John Post and other scientists support the need for more independent assessments of recreational fish stocks. "Our ability to do the science is eroding due to cutbacks right across the country," says Post. "We just don't have a good picture of the state of Canada's recreational fisheries." There also needs to be a change in management regimes. At one time, fish biologists used to manage lakes for maximum sustained yield, explains Michael Sullivan. In anglers' terms, that meant taking out as many fish as possible without tanking the resource. But that formula didn't factor in drought, climate change, better fishing technology or ease of access. "We can't manage to the edge of the cliff anymore," says Sullivan. "We have to stand back."

Andrew Nikiforuk Gone Fisfin’ Canadian Business Nov 25 02

"The problem the planner faced was analogous to that of the forester. One modern solution to the forester’s dilemma was to borrow a management technique called optimum control theory, whereby the sustained timber yield, could be successfully predicted by few observations and a parsimonious formula. It goes without saying that optimum control theory was simplest where more variables could be turned into constants. Thus a single-species, same-age forest planted in straight lines on a flat plain with consistent soil and moisture profiles yielded simpler and more accurate optimum control formulas. Compared to uniformity, diversity is always more difficult to design, build and control."


"The Canadian forest industry is run in the same way as the controlled economies of the former eastern bloc….it took 50 years for the East Bloc economy to collapse because of misallocation and mis-pricing of resources and we have no doubt the Canadian timber tenure system will collapse for the same reasons."

Hamish Kerr

"The government’s forest policy proposal was released in June 1985 in a document entitled To Build a Forest for the Future. The hypothesis underlying the ministry’s study was an idea dear to professional foresters in Quebec. They took for granted that maintaining a tree cover sufficient to meet the needs of the wood industry would preserve all of the functions of the forest. This hypothesis brings us back to the classic interpretation of the concept of sustained yield. Focussing on the trees, this concept reduced the function of the forest to wood. This reasoning sacrifices the complexity of the forest to bolster a reductionist and technical approach. The merit of the report, however, was that it simplified the aims of the emerging forest policy and consequently enhanced its short-term chances of success."

Luc Bouthillier in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"Increasingly, after World War II, the assumptions foresters adopted regarding these myriad considerations shifted first toward the ever-optimistic and finally to the improbable. Those altered assumptions produced a watershed change in forest management an aggressive approach appropriately labeled "intensive management" and advocated in an important document produced by the Forest Service in 1969 titled the Douglas-fir Supply Study. The philosophy of intensive management lent a fašade of rationality to a timber program that was, in fact, driven by markets and unsustainable over the long haul. Intensive management ideology also deflected, to an extent, criticisms of the Forest Service by non-timber resource users. Intensive management promised more of everything: more commercial resource extraction and more recreation, more logging and more wildlife. Intensive management also promised to mitigate any resource damage due to development. Unfortunately, these hopeful visions often failed to pan out for lack of funding or because of irresolvable conflicts between uses or simple environmental limitations. Still, as long as the agency promised more and better management, it could elicit a certain amount of patience from critics and deference from policy-makers. But not indefinitely. The proliferation of timber roads and rapid liquidation of old growth eventually made a mockery of sustained yield and multiple use policies on Northwest national forests, and this, in turn, spelled disaster for the Forest Service’s public image."

Paul Hirt    Institutional Failure in the U.S. Forest Service

"The reordering of the chaotic and inefficient natural forest to create a sustained yield normal forest with evenly distributed ages producing timber on a crop rotation basis required a great deal of managerial control. The structure of the forest was controlled by regulating the annual cut; decision-making was controlled by transferring the authority for setting the rate of harvest to the Chief Forester; and industry was controlled by tenure and pricing policies that all but eliminated competition and favored a few large integrated companies (Marchak1983). The outcome has been the evolution of highly rigid ecological, political and economic systems. These systems have lost their resilience or capacity to absorb change."

Lois Dellert  The Wealth of Forests

"Is it possible that the recent interpretation of the concept of sustained yield over time has allowed Quebec governments to once again rationalize destructive forest policy to favour ‘responsible’ development? The concept (implied or explicit) of the sustained yield provides a very loose definition of reality that allows the setting of policy goals and allocations to cope with the problems of the day. However, one must recognize that political advocacy of sustained yield does not necessarily imply that the forests will get healthier in the long run. This is because the concept of sustained yield has two aspects. It is a decision to manage public lands in a defensive manner, keeping an eye open for surprises that the future can bring. Indeed, since the beginning of the twentieth century, managers of the public forest domain have had a tendency to manage the forests as a natural system which must be protected from unforseen dangers. Concretely, they seek to conserve the forest lands. However, the same managers also consider the forest as a source of wealth to be enhanced in order to prepare for future harvesting. Once in place, these two goals can be contradictory.

"Managing for sustained yield is intended to permit a reconciliation of these two tendencies. Rationalizing harvest levels by allowing for natural increments is intended to permit the simultaneous satisfaction of socio-economic demand for timber and the biological permanence of the forest. Technically, sustained yield imposes a measured and controlled harvest of the forest which speaks to a rational context for managing natural resources; presaging the sustainable development project that the promoters of ecodevelopment presented to the world. But there are still links between Taylorism and ecodevelopment and these links are revealed by an examination of how the concept of sustainability has been interpreted over the history of forest policy in Quebec."

Luc Bouthillier in Howlett, ed CANADIAN FOREST POLICY

"Public forest management is changing. In the past, public forest managers in the United States sought to manage forests to provide a steady flow of goods that appeared to be highly valued, including non-market goods. Officially, if not always in practice, they tried to provide these goods in a way that would not impair the future productivity of forests - hence, "sustained yield" forestry. However, operationally the emphasis was on a predictable flow of outputs, such as thousand   board feet of timber sold, recreation visitor days and cattle grazing unit months.   Now strong biological evidence, such as biodiversity loss and regional forest decline indicates something is missing… In forestry, sustainability is coming to mean sustainable forests rather than sustainable flow of outputs."

Claire Montgomery  Ecological Economics Journal

"From the inception of American forestry in the late nineteenth century, foresters saw old growth as an obstacle in the way of the ultimate goal of forestry: to achieve a fully regulated forest producing desired goods and services efficiently and without waste. Foresters hoped to convert old growth as quickly as possible to thrifty, young, growing forests. This remarkably enduring perspective remained largely unchallenged within the forestry profession until the 1980’s, even though for decades many non-timber-oriented resource management professionals defended the positive values of old growth. Greatly outnumbered in the forestry schools, the timber industry and government agencies, these dissenters remained on the margins of policy debates until the 1980’s."

Paul Hirt Institutional Failure in the U.S. Forest Service

"(The) sustained yield pillar, later augmented by the idea of Integrated Resource Management, legitimates the entire set of (forest) policies, including the grants of public authority embodied in tenure arrangements. Any forces which corrode public confidence in sustained yield automatically shake the tenure pillar, call into question the devolution of public authority to companies and professional foresters, and threaten the rational for the entire liquidation-conversion project"

Lertzman, Rayner, Wilson

"Thus, managers are frequently confronted with situations where they are expected to achieve poorly defined outcomes via the application of untested practices over unknown time frames. On-the-ground vegetation managers have traditionally relied heavily on field research as a basis for setting objectives and implementing practices. However, the vast majority of field research for vegetation management has been directed toward the output of a single or a limited set of products. Research for commodity production in managed ecosystems is generally seen from the narrow perspective of sustained yield of the primary product (Brown and Ash 1996). Vegetation dynamics are interpreted with a sharp focus on the product of interest and generally less focused on the processes and mechanisms that do not appear to be linked directly to production. It is not surprising that linear succession, with a strong emphasis on elimination of undesirable species, has been the basis for management (see Westoby et al. 1989). While the most obvious examples of this type of approach are management techniques for commodity production on rangelands (livestock) and forests (lumber), a similar approach dominates most land uses (e.g., military land, parks, watersheds)…

(W)e tend to focus research and management only on the processes that stabilize that particular output. Processes that destabilize output, but contribute to the capacity of ecosystems to absorb and recover from stress and disturbance, are generally seen as less relevant and are often overlooked when experiments are designed, executed, and interpreted."

Brown, Herrick and Price Managing Low Output Agroecosystems Sustainably Can J For Res 99

"This was because no one before or during the "planning decade" (that began in 1976), at least no one I know within the forestry profession, seriously considered old growth forests as possessing any redeeming features outside of the preserves known as national parks or designated wilderness areas. Further, forestry viewed as "over-mature" any tree that was beyond "culmination of mean annual increment" or maximum average rate of growth -- the floral equivalent of faunal veal. In practical terms in the Pacific Northwest (where the preponderance of old-growth forests remained), this meant the demise of physiologically mature trees -- trees that can reach diameters exceeding ten feet (3 m) at ages exceeding 300 years, and their replacement by a regulated forest where most trees would not exceed two feet (0.6 m) at rotation ages of 50 to 100 years, and most of the forest would be stocked with juvenile trees most of the time.

Almost overnight it seemed, sustained high-level timber production as a correlate of the perfectly regulated forest vanished as the ideal. It had dawned on a hitherto unsuspecting public that "sustained yield" of forest production did not equate to a sustained stock of "forests" as the American public had come to know and love them. Indeed, the terms were polar opposites, since, as every forester knew from school, a high-level perpetual (sustained) yield was obtained only when the old growth was at last converted to vigorous and usually homogeneous stands of young timber. Perhaps not surprisingly when viewed historically, the forestry profession had provided the public with no warning that sustained yield (a popularly-accepted term) implied the demise of what came to be known as "ancient forests".

Allan McQuillan  Cabbages And Kings

"Sustaining the yield of timber is not the same as sustaining the biological productivity of a forest ecosystem. Current plans call for timber harvest rotation periods of 80-140 years, whereas it may take 150-300 years for a forest to attain old growth characteristics (Pojar et el. 1990). Many forest scientists have recommended managing forests on the basis of ecological rotations, taking into account the temporal and spatial scales of forest ecosystem development (Kimmins and Duffy 1991). Extending the time scale of harvest rotation in this way would further reduce the long range sustained yield.

On a provincial scale, several decades of old growth cutting remain, but on a regional or local scale the old growth will be depleted sooner in many areas. Kimmins and Duffy (1991) felt that, if the sustainable rate of cutting is not distributed into several local cutting cycles (a cutting cycle is a complete set of stand age classes), local areas may experience boom and bust logging cycles, even though over the entire region the cut may be occurring at a sustainable rate. Social and economic sustainability at a smaller scale (a small local community), therefor, may be affected by forest management which ensures a sustained flow of logs at a larger geographic scale (a large timber supply area). The same can be said for ecological sustainability ."

Lee Harding Biodiversity in British Columbia

"Conservation biologists and environmental managers say, with depressing frequency today, "This system is degraded and requires restoration." Every time they say this, they imply that they know what that system should look like, and that they have some idea about how to improve on the present situation. Do we know these things?"

Bryan Norton Ecological Economics

"Finally, this cautionary tale suggests that it would be helpful to make more use of the precautionary principle in the realm of fisheries management.[17] Such a development will not prove popular with all stakeholders. For the most part, applications of the precautionary principle can be expected to lead to a lowering of total allowable catches. Carried to extremes, the precautionary principle can become a weapon in the hands of those who wish to terminate consumptive uses of living resources, regardless of the consequences for human welfare. The efforts of the opponents of the revised management procedure in the case of the whaling regime clearly illustrate this possibility. In this case, opponents of harvesting have appealed to the precautionary principle in a successful effort to block the setting up of quotas, even though scientists agree that limited harvests would not threaten or endanger some whale stocks. As a result, the International Whaling Commission has become a battleground for conflicting perspectives on whales and whaling rather than an effective management system.[18] To avoid such extremes, managers and policy makers need to learn how to use the precautionary principle in a responsible manner and in a way that makes it a useful management tool rather than a weapon in the hands of particular groups of stakeholders. Yet given the fact that leading fisheries biologists issued an "epitaph for the concept of maximum sustainable yield" some time ago, managers also need guidance in developing approaches that stop short of seeking to maximize allowable harvest levels under a set of conditions that do not hold in the real world."

Oran Young Taking Stock Environment April 03


"American [Canadian, B.C.] society, however may choose to define ecosystem management as an incremental addition to the concept of multiple use - sustained yield, adopting what we have called a "sustain-all-uses" approach to ecosystem management. In this case, the production of goods and services will remain paramount, although it will be done with a greater appreciation of the constraints imposed by ecological processes. When push comes to shove, human uses, whether a new elementary school, world-class research facility, mine, wilderness recreation, or gambling casino, will still dominate over protecting ecosystem integrity. The geographic and temporal scales of consideration will continue top expand, and resource management will become more collaborative. Under this scenario, while more people may embrace civic engagement and live lightly on the land, these practices will not become major forces in our society or in global politics. The political will may not be sufficient to create a context in which nature’s needs are on par with human needs, and short-term immediate socioeconomic gains are routinely forgone in order to achieve long term ecological gains. In this case, policy changes will be made to accommodate the heightened focus on ecosystems and human communities, but the political and resource management changes that occur will not be revolutionary. Critics call this the "have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too" approach to ecosystem management, since it implies that all uses can be maintained within a framework in which ecological sustainability is given substantially greater consideration but is not the primary goal. Thus the prognosis in this instance is continued incremental change - a little more appreciation of ecosystems, a little more civic engagement, and some tinkering with laws and politics. These changes are important, but they will not create a society that lives in balance with nature or protects ecosystems from irreparable damage."

The Politics Of Ecosystem Management Hanna Cortner and Margaret A. Moote

"The concept that all forests must be silviculturally manipulated (logged) and eventually replaced in order to provide desired goods and services, including the continued health of forest landscapes, is an old and honored tradition among many forestry professionals. The "fully regulated" forest landscape with its "balanced" distribution of forest age classes, or developmental states, has been a goal and icon of forest management for over a century. Another traditional view is that forests must be actively replaced, because without human intervention their ability to provide goods and services will decline and fire, storm, insects or disease will eventually destroy them.

Proposals for widespread logging as the mechanism to create and provide for all forest values are therefore not surprising. These approaches continue to be advanced by advocates of timber harvesting under such rubrics as "Structure-Based Management" and "High Quality Forestry."

Franklin et el. Simplified Forest Management ... National Wildlife Federation Report

"…(O)ur natural minds are equipped to deal with changes that occur only at particular paces. Events that happen faster or slower are simply invisible to us."

Daniel Dennett

"The disturbance schedule for sustained yield management (Scenario SY) was developed using a variant of the area–volume check (Davis, 1966) developed by one of the authors (Armstrong). A standard area–volume check takes as input a table of forest area by age class and a yield table. Through an iterative procedure it finds the even-flow level of harvest which will result in the entire forest area being cut over exactly during a specified rotation period. This model rations out "surplus" old-growth volume over the rotation

G.W. Armstrong, S.G. Cumming, W.L. Adamowicz NDM Timber Supply Implications

SFM Network    http//

"Forestry has been largely concerned with silviculture, defined as "that branch of forestry which deals with the establishment, development, care, and reproduction of stands of timber" (Toumey 1947). The aim of silviculture, according to Toumey, is the "continuous production of wood". But forests comprise much more than wood and other products for human consumption, much more even then the "public service" functions of climate regulation, water supply, pest control, gene banks, or recreational opportunities. What we or future generations can afford to lose is not the only consideration. Forests are valuable and must be sustained for their own sake. Until we acquire such an attitude, the sustainability concept may just be a smoke screen, behind which we continue to chip away at our biotic heritage."

Reed Noss in Defining Sustainable Forestry

"For most of mankind’s involvement with marine fisheries, marine fish stocks were considered inexhaustible (Kurlansky 1997). Fish stocks rose and fell, not by the hand of humans, but by natural fluctuations in the environment. What little management intervention there was, was based largely on intuitive beliefs that certain fishing practices should be avoided such as the harvesting of immature fish, spawning or egg-bearing females, or molting crustaceans. More active fisheries management has a much more limited history, with three fairly distinct stanzas. In the first, it was thought that even if we could not overfish a resource or affect recruitment, we could affect the yield realized from a fish stock by changing the fishing mortality rate, or the size at which fish were captured (Smith 1994). This was the beginning of quantitative stock assessment and population dynamics, and the "maximum sustainable yield" paradigm that remains the touchstone for fisheries management (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and epitaph written by Peter Larkin (1977). Most fisheries were still considered self-regulating; with the available technology, fishing would become unprofitable long before there was any biological risk of stock collapse. This was the era of production models and yield-per-recruit analysis, and the theory around these models was rapidly developed. The second stanza began only recently, as stock collapses became more frequent and evidence accumulated that these collapses were the result of fishing. It became apparent that not only could fishing reduce yields, but fishing could also affect recruitment and biological productivity. Recognizing this, management objectives began to shift from attaining a maximum sustainable yield to maintaining a minimum spawning stock biomass. This did not require a significant change in approach, because the goal was still to obtain the highest possible yield from the stock, but as tempered by the recognition that doing so means maintaining an adequate spawning stock. Despite these more conservative biological targets, both recruitment and growth overfishing have continued with increasing frequency (NRC 1999

Hal Weeks and Steve Berkeley Scientific and Management Uncertainty … FISHERIES Mar 02



"Managing natural forests for sustainability requires moving beyond the outdated concept of maximum sustainable yield. In many parts of the world, the focus on this aspect has simplified the forest structure, replacing natural mixed forest with single-species and even-aged monocultures. While the area of planted forests is still very small (less than 5 percent of total forest area), the selection and breeding of planting stock – and in some cases intensive management – tend to narrow genetic diversity and reduce the number of associated species. Intensifying the management of natural and planted forests has often involved eliminating competing species, draining wetlands, suppressing natural fires and accelerating rotation cycles. At least in the short term, these activities have led to an increase in productivity, often at the expense of forest quality because of threats to forest-dwelling fauna and increased vulnerability to various pests. Sustained-yield forestry, designed to provide a steady stream of timber, is therefore not synonymous with sustainable forest management, which gives greater attention to various ecological processes and the range of related goods and services."

State of the World’s Forests 2003 FAO http//

"….(S)ustainable forestry will not result from lengthening rotations on tree farms and preserving a few small areas for display of other forest qualities.

The evolution to sustainable forestry requires, at a minimum, a recognition of the limitations of present knowledge and of the risk that human intervention will do irreversible harm before enough knowledge accumulates to identify the practices of sustainable forestry. This recognition leads to a double strategy: (1) intensify research on how forest systems work and (2) preserve options for the future. Preserving options implies stopping policies that are doing harm by destroying watersheds, biological diversity, scenic beauty and other forest values. It means developing new forest management techniques that give far less weight to the present and more to the future and less weight to wood production and more to other values."

Alice Rivlin  Defining Sustainable Forestry

"Science, too, has a direct bearing on conservation philosophy, policy, and practice. Two examples make the point. First, island biogeography has in recent decades demonstrated the importance of area to species diversity. Consequently, parks, once considered an adequate measure to save species, are now seen as insufficient to forestall the extinctions caused by habitat fragmentation. Second, by the 1980s, the equilibrium theories of populations and ecosystems on which modern conservation was founded gave way to nonequilibrium models rooted in chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics. The shift from stability and predictability to flux and uncertainty has profound implications. It means, for example, that maximum sustainable yields of fish stocks cannot be readily calculated. The large degree of uncertainty due to stochastic events, such as climate and complex interactions between predator and prey, calls for conservative catch limits as a hedge against overharvesting and for variable rather than fixed annual quotas as a way to reflect fluctuating conditions.

David Western Conservation in a Human Dominated World Issues in Science and Technology

"Principle 1: Sustain healthy, diverse, and productive ecosystems in the long term. A key lesson of the 1980’s was that a national forest or grassland is much greater then the sum of its multiple uses. People demanded that management goals and objectives go beyond the yields of board feet of timber, user days of recreation, animal-unit-months of grazing, and other "multiple use outputs" projected in the endless tables and graphs within forest plans. For too long, federal land use managers had been treating natural resources "as discreet entities, focusing on their economic value and paying little attention to underlying natural systems and processes"(Keiter 1990). ….

This first principle suggests an important corollary for multiple-use management: the key to sustaining all benefits is in managing for ecosystem health. Earlier, it was assumed that land would be taken care of as long as management succeeded in sustaining yields of the various multiple uses. It is now recognized that ecosystem health must be a conscious and deliberate goal as well as the over all context for multiple use management."

Winnifred Kessler and Hal Salwasser  A New Century For Natural Resources Management

"All signs indicate that the conventional industrial paradigm of ‘timber primacy,’ the belief that forests are no more than hectares of standing logs readying themselves for the mill, is on its way to oblivion. But not without resistance. The tinkerers are at work, dressing up the old concept in the new clothing of sustainable development, preaching the virtues of integrated resource management (‘multiple use’ with a new face), prescribing more carefulness and cosmetic neatness out where the grappleyarders play.

A popular solution is regional zoning to divide the land between preserved areas, industrial or working forests (plantations), and multiple-use areas – a triad of forest land allocations (Seymour and Hunter, 1992). …This is forestry with a ‘kinder, gentler’ face, regionally planned to maintain substantial levels of wood production without threatening biodiversity. It promises industry and government that ‘ we can have our forest and harvest too.’ No profound change here."

Stan Rowe A New Paradigm For Forestry The Forestry Chronicle

"It is time that we moved beyond the divisive debates over specific wilderness valleys and how they affect various mills, to an honest discussion of our goals and how they clash with today’s economy. In B.C., the changes that we confront are specific to our forest-dependent economy; nevertheless the problem is widely shared by an industrialized world overshooting it’s ecological and economic base."

Michael M’Gonigle and Ben Parfitt  FORESTOPIA

"Limiting the periodic harvest of a renewable resource to its periodic growth is the fundamental dictum of sustained yield, but it can take at least two forms. The benign and conservative form sets the harvest level according to the spontaneous (some might say ‘natural’) periodic increment of the resource. A bolder, more vigorous approach applies capital to the resource, to stimulate production ‘artificially’. This approach holds an immense appeal to resource managers with exaggerated anxieties about scarcity, and it appeals immensely to those of the Type A, cabbage-patch, persuasion. MAXIMUM sustained yield would be limited only by the biological capacity of the land to absorb productive capital inputs.

"As the second half of the twentieth century got underway, the bold form of sustained yield was pursued enthusiastically by the federal resource agencies. After WW11, the budget floodgates of public capital opened, and the maximizers of sustained yield went on a binge of dam construction, rangeland ‘improvement’ , recreational facilities development, road building, and clear-cutting. Single-resource agencies, cheered on by their single-resource clientale groups undertook Type A management activities with unprecedented capability.

"Labeled ‘intensive management’ in the Forest Service, the enthusiasm led to ‘a conspiracy of optimism’ as historian Paul Hirt described the period… (W)hat timber management meant, in the post-war years, was the conversion of complex biological systems, the old growth forests of the West, into simplified timber plantations."


"The differences in management paradigms over the past century seem more related to implementation than philosophy or design. Virtually every forest management approach either states explicitly or implies that forest management is designed to sustain production and avoid environmental deterioration. Management may be based on the annual allowable cut (Morgan 1991), which is designed as the average volume of wood that may be harvested annually under sustained yield management (Expert Panel on Forest Management in Alberta, 1990). Under a sustained yield management paradigm, the challenge for the forest manager is to determine the appropriate amount, distribution and location of timber to cut within a defined area (e.g. lease, by considering harvesting, regrowth, and natural disturbances. Typically, sustained yield decision making is based on a calculation that a given unit of land is managed to provide a specified amount of resources, usually expressed as a volume of timber, over a specified amount of time (the rotation age) and over a specified area. Globally, there are clear limits to sustained yield management. Obviously, it is difficult to maintain production on a sustained yield basis if permanent damage is caused by forestry practices; no sustained yield forest management plan would support complete removal of the forest resource. Unfortunately, that is exactly what seems to have occurred in many forests (Berlyn and Ashton, 1996; Brant, 1997)."

Steven E. Franklin Remote Sensing for Sustainable Forest Management

"The goal of the fishing industry, then, is to establish a sustained yield. Closed seasons, catch quotas, nets with large mesh size, and maximum fish size can help achieve a sustained yield. This concept of sustained yield also applies to hunting, removal of forest products, and the use of grasslands for grazing. Theoretically, once we determine what the optimal intensity of removal is for a stock, we can develop and continually use that particular resource. If we go to the point of overexploitation, however, we have a negative impact on the total natural system. The concept of sustained yield has been the foundation for most natural resource management in the 20th century….

To achieve sustained yield in even aged timber management, consider a simple example. A land owner has fifty acres of forest that takes fifty years to mature to harvestable timber. He can then remove one acre of timber per year. In other words, he would have fifty stands of equal productivity."

Stanley Anderson  A New Century For Natural Resources Management

"If timber volume were to continue to be the overriding principle underlying forest planning, with constraints imposed by other values, then perhaps forest stands delineated in this traditional way will continue to be a suitable way, or even the only suitable way, of organizing the landscape for management. By focusing on the regulation of forestry (by which is meant forest treatments) in a sustained yield and multiple-use forest management, all other values can be seen as simple constraints. Is there any need to better understand ecosystems under this system of management? Under this scenario, there are few or no problems that cannot be resolved with existing management treatments, existing ways of organizing the forest into discrete parcels or stands, and existing levels of understanding and information. But perhaps the constraints will continue to increase in complexity, ultimately overwhelming any and all forms of management in their demand for additional knowledge and scientific information upon which to base decisions

"Ecosystem management, on the other hand, considers multiple forest values over a full range of spatial scales over time. Forest stands do not seem to have as central a role to play under this management paradigm; instead, spatial structures which correspond to physical features or intrinsic characteristics of processes occur at a wide range of nested scales (Bellahumeur and Legendre, 1998)."

Steven E. Franklin Remote Sensing for Sustainable Forest Management 1991

"A student of forestry in the 1950’s or 1960’s would have found information on converting old-growth stands into even-aged regulated forests, preventing and suppressing fire, creating habitat for game species, or calculating optimum rotations. Little mention was made of institutional or social issues. The forester of the 20th century could go to his post in the woods, plan for a sustained flow of timber, mitigate the negative effects of harvesting, provide for other values where possible, and feel secure in the knowledge that he had carried out his professional duties.

Of course, the 21st century will not be such a time."

Katherine Kohm and Jerry Franklin  Creating A Forestry For The 21st Century

"Scarcity has long since disappeared as a rationale for applying sustained yield strategies… The high volatility of production technologies and product characteristics induces a high degree of instability in consumption patterns. Without stability in the system, there can be no certainty in the future.

"Foresters can clear-cut a forest and plant another in a textbook application of sustained yield, as Fermow did, expecting that neither utilities nor technologies will change before the forest matures, a century or more into the future, expecting that society will want the same forest then as it does now, expecting that resources are immutable in form and function. But they had better not."


"Resource professionals and the public must continually improve approaches to managing the world’s common resources. The success of our efforts will be based not on our static performance at any point in time, but rather on our ability to deal with ecological and institutional change. In The Influence Of Forestry Upon The Lumber Industry Overton Price (1902) noted that " it is the history of all great industries directed by private interests that the necessity of modification is not seen until the harm has been done and its results are felt". It is this characteristic of human nature and our society that necessitates awareness of historical changes, anticipation of future trends, and development of more effective approaches to maintaining riparian forests and aquatic ecosystems."

Stanley Gregory   Creating A Forestry For The 21st Century

"The origins of the word sustainability – 'that magic word of consensus' as Worster (1993 144) puts it – lie in the concept of 'sustained yield', which emerged first in scientific forestry in Germany in the late eighteenth century. As Robert Lee (cited by Worster, 1993 145) has noted, it came not just as a response to the decline in German forests, but as a response to the uncertainty and social instability which still wracked Germany at that time (and which were responsible at least in part for the decline in German forests). It was an instrument of a strong state, for ordering social and economic conditions which stood as a 'necessary' counterweight to emergent laissez-faire capitalism. (There is a warning here that institutions cause unsustainable practices, and thus lie at the heart of sustainability.

Aynsley Kellow Social aspects of sustainability Canberra, May 2002


"One of the most fundamental lessons of the last several decades of ecological research is that the biological diversity of North American forests is far greater then previously thought. At the same time, much more is at risk through traditional forestry programs then ever imagined. Perhaps nowhere has this been more pronounced that in the debate over the fate of the remaining old forests of the Pacific North-West."

Bruce Marcot  Creating A Forestry For The 21st Century

"Any system that is stable is also certain. Its trajectory and future condition are predictable, and that makes long term planning a secure exercise. The professional forester’s plans must be long term, indeed. Trees grow very slowly. Speaking casually of ‘rotations’ of a century or more, to designate the interval of sustained-yield cuttings, was easily justified three centuries ago in western Europe.

"Limiting the periodic cutting to the periodic growth of a forest was inescapable under the conditions of scarcity. And projecting that management regime a century ahead was appropriate for a stable system with a certain future. Thus was professional forestry rationalized, constituted, taught and imported into the United States via Bernard Fermow’s lively mind."


"The agricultural paradigm of forestry adopted in this century - simplification and uniformity in structure, pattern, and product - and the regulated landscape - fully occupied by an ordered age sequence of managed stands - no longer suffices. The simplistic notion that four regeneration harvest practices, designed with the knowledge and objectives of the 19th century, can meet the objectives of the 21st century must be given up."

Kohm and Franklin in Creating A Forestry For The 21st Century

"A large percentage (in some provinces, all) of the productive forest lands have been allocated to the forest industry under long-term agreements. These lands support wood-processing facilities and forest communities, thereby providing employment and revenue to the government. In addition to major tenure holders, a host of other timber and non-timber users may be affected by policy changes regarding forest use and allocation. This fundamental reality of prior allocation or prior use, together with the economic and social structure supported by such uses, act as constraints on redesigning a sustainable model of forest use and management. This is not an argument in favor of preserving the status quo. Rather, the necessity of formulating and implementing innovative solutions to resolve issues resulting from unsustainable development of forest lands is critical.

Current socio-economic problems are partly a legacy of the dominant use of forest resources for timber production at the expense of other values and uses."

Monique M. Ross Forest Management in Canada

"On a net basis, the forest-planning adventure has been disastrous. Achievements have been grossly outweighed by the environmental, social, managerial, and political damages and costs. Indicting the Forest Service for this travesty of professional management and public administration is indeed inescapable - but it is also insufficient. Also at fault is the obsolete paradigm of professional forestry based on producing a maximum sustained yield of timber. …

Maximum sustained yield of timber might well be called the forestry of the 20th century - and it differs little from the 19th or 18th."

R.W. Behan  Creating A Forestry For The 21st Century

"By their very nature, legal instruments tend to evolve slowly to reflect new societal values and objectives as evidenced in the following analysis:

Political objectives, and the political theories which seek to give them universality, change in the response to the most deeply felt needs of succeeding generations of men. But political institutions, including the framework of law by which men realize their social needs, are slow to change. The law is a conspicuous laggard in this respect and it is the existence of this lag which causes a political disequilibrium. (J.R. Mallory)

Indeed, the predominance of provincial forest statutes that continue to concentrate on sustaining timber production, rather than forest ecosystems, contributes to the public's perception that minimal change in traditional forest use and management has occurred."

Monique M. Ross Forest Management In Canada

"It is a point of some interest that in the popular imagination, the stability of the climax community is probably still the dominant 'myth of nature', sustained by constant repetition by political ecologists and, like sustained yield in Germany, no doubt offering the promise of stability in uncertain and rapidly changing times.

An ecological science in which perturbation, turbulence, disturbance, succession and flux are the norm creates insurmountable problems for ecocentric philosophical positions. While we are not reduced to seeing nature in purely utilitarian terms, it does place the emphasis back on human choice – in Botkin's (1990) terms, we must choose among the discordant harmonies of nature those elements we wish to retain. We must reject nature as providing norms which guide how we must live and accept instead that we are part of a living, changing system; we can chose to accept, use, or control elements to make for a habitable existence, both singly and individually.

An emphasis on disturbance and chaos also suggests we need to be cautious about assuming we can manage resources at sustained yield, of course, and this is the basis for the emergence of the 'precautionary principle' – although this too is frequently little more than a slogan with an infinite number of meanings."

Aynsley Kellow Social aspects of sustainability Canberra, May 2002


"(S)ustained yield essentially means constraining the periodic consumption of a renewable resource to not exceed its periodic growth. "It appears in timber management as allowable cut; in wildlife management as bag limits; in range, wilderness and recreation as carrying capacity; and in reservoir and aquifer management as recharge rates" (Behan 1990). In practice, however, sustained yield, multiple-use forestry has been pursued primarily by constraints on long term timber harvest and by what Behan terms "multiple use by adjacency ".

Foresters once believed that if the woods were used to produce timber, preferably saw-timber, then all the other benefits of forests would occur automatically. It was a crazy notion and one bound to come under attack. The timber primacy aspect of traditional sustained yield failed to recognize that while trees may be biologically renewable, cut over forests, in the social sense, are transformed not renewed. That forests produce social, spiritual, and biological services as well as a host of marketable outputs, and that dominant product sustained yield was incompatible with sustaining those values, were lessons that proved difficult if not impossible for many professional foresters to learn."

R.M. Alston  Are Sustained Yield And Sustainable Forests Equivalent? SAF Aug 91paper

"If we choose to continue our current patterns of use, we face almost certain declines in the ability of ecosystems to yield their broad spectrum of benefits -- from clean water to stable climate, fuelwood to food crops, timber to wildlife habitat. We can choose another option, however. It requires reorienting how we see ecosystems, so that we learn to view their sustainability as essential to our own. Adopting this "ecosystem approach" means we evaluate our decisions on land and resource use in terms of how they affect the capacity of ecosystems to sustain life, not only human well-being but also the health and productive potential of plants, animals, and natural systems. Maintaining this capacity becomes our passkey to human and national development, our hope to end poverty, our safeguard for biodiversity, our passage to a sustainable future."

People And Ecosystems: The Fraying Web Of Life World Resources Institute

"The dominant paradigm in both public lands and water resources management is sustained yield, which reflects the utilitarian values prevalent during the Progressive era. These values state that the best use of resources is human consumption, and that the purpose of resource management should therefore be to provide a continuous supply of market-oriented goods. …

Whereas sustained yield emphasizes products and outputs, ecosystem management emphasizes resource conditions and long-term resource sustainability. Ecosystem management requires the maintenance of biological diversity and stresses ecological function and balance. In this view, objectives are related to sustaining desired future conditions of the land and water resources rather than maximizing the production goals of any one resource or use, such as timber harvesting, forage production, aesthetic experiences, or the development of new water supplies."

Hanna Cortner and Margaret Moote Trends and Issues in Land and Water Resources Management Environmental Management

"Even though expressly stated in preambles to tenure agreements or in planning guides, the dual objectives of sustained yield production and integrated resource management are not easily met. Their implementation depends realistically on the type of management practised in the forest, and the switch from sustained yield policies to sustainable development policies is only in its initial stage. Detailed prescriptions found in regulations, standards, ground rules or guidelines, and incorporated in operational plans, dictate the manner in which and the extent to which forest practices reflect broader concerns than merely those of timber production. In recent years, formulae designed to protect certain features or values of forest ecosystems from negative impacts resulting from forest practices have proliferated. These include modified harvesting methods and designs, buffer zones, and road planning or watercourse crossing specifications in streamside and riparian areas, in identified sensitive wildlife habitat areas or areas of high recreational value. However, such requirements have been superimposed on a regime of management traditionally focused upon timber production, and continue to be perceived by forest managers as 'constraints' on management."

Monique M. Ross Forest Management in Canada

"The history of forest management is maybe characterized as a history of reckless handling of forests, resultant catastrophes, and response in the form of the establishment of doctrines for achieving harmony. These doctrines are "timber primacy," "sustained yield," "long term," and "absolute standard". Originally from Europe, they invaded North America and influenced forest activities all over the world. The four doctrines form the basic framework of academic forest science curricula and have legal status in many countries."

Peter Gluck  Social Values In Forestry Ambio 16 (2-3)

Nowhere is the interaction within and between network and community more complex than in the regulation of the environmental impacts of forestry. The severity of the regulation in each jurisdiction varies consistently with the ability of members of the wider policy communities to protect other forest values from the degradation associated with even the best-conducted industrial forestry. The convergent interests of network members have ensured that forest management is still understood as consisting of timber production under a variety of more or less severe environmental constraints.

Attempts on the part of policy community members to bring about a paradigm shift in which the overriding objective of forest management becomes ecological sustainability, rather than sustainable levels of fibre production, have largely failed because of network hostility. The effect of this failure has meant that other users continue to bear the burden of proof for demonstrating negative environmental impacts. Timber management, as currently practised, is presumed safe and effective until it can be shown otherwise."

Michael Howlett and Jeremy Rayner in Forest Management in Canada (Ross)

"Few would now argue that sustainable forestry should be equated with sustaining timber production or sustaining timber-dependent communities. Nor, for many, is it adequate to conceive of the concept as implying a responsibility for sustaining an optimum mix of human-valued resource benefits, even if those benefits are interpreted as including biodiversity, aesthetics, and other passive uses. Increasingly, it is argued that sustainable forestry can only occur where the overriding goal is to sustain forest ecosystems."

Chris Tollefson The Wealth of Forests


"The first Europeans found such an abundance of fish, timber, water and other resources that there was no scarcity in the economic sense, and no allocation problem, and therefore no need for individual property rights. But gradually, one natural resource after another became scarce - furbearing animals with the development of the fur trade, minerals with the gold rush, agricultural land with settlement, then timber, water, game and fish."

Peter Pearse The Wealth of Forests

"..(A)lthough it seems obvious that the present policy has the particular merit of setting an unambiguous goal - sustainability - in practice, matters are not so simple. Is the goal, in fact, to sustain the volumes of timber being cut when the policy is put in place, or is it to meet projected demands for wood fibre of a particular quality? Is it to sustain a particular level of employment in the industry as a whole or to maintain that level of employment in existing communities, in spite of changing market conditions?

Are Crown forests primarily 'wood sheds', or are there a variety of different and, perhaps, mutually incompatible uses that have to be sustained if society is to maximize the benefits it receives from forested land? And, even if we accept the professional forester's claim that modern forestry has the tools to deliver any particular mix of resource benefits that society can agree upon, what are the long-term ecological consequences of operating with such an anthropocentric concept of sustainability?

Michael Howlett and Jeremy Rayner in Forest Management In Canada (Ross)

A coalition of capitalists, professional foresters, labor unions, and state officials are insisting that Chile must use its native forest or lose it. Foresters, investors, and Japanese buyers claim that profits from the hardwood chip industry will help pay for thinning that would convert the native forest into a commercially viable source of hardwood lumber They assert that the only alternative to removing old-growth is replacing the forest with other land uses, invoking the specter of deforestation by peasants in search of agricultural land. Yet their own figures show that agricultural clearing has ceased in Chile and that the chip industry has been the primary agent of forest clearing in the past five years (e.g., Hartwig 1991,171). Pointing to the success of government subsidies in promoting the growth of the plantation-based industry; members of this coalition are calling for the state to subsidize the conversion of Chile's remaining old-growth forests to young second-growth stands--essentially tree farms (CORMA 1991). They say that industrial use of the native forest is necessary; regardless of whether it is profitable or sustainable. If not yet profitable, they call for state subsidies to make it so. The idea that a forest could remain uncut to serve as wilderness, wildlife habitat, and a source of secondary forest products is scorned. Preservation is labeled a luxury, and its advocates are characterized as a wealthy and selfish band of ecological fanatics."

R.A. Clapp Waiting for the forest law: Resource-led development and environmental politics in Chile

"Forestry as traditionally practiced in the Pacific Northwest is less a science than an ideology, a set of ideas reflecting not empirical truths, but the social needs and aspirations of a closed group of professionals with a vested interest in validating its practices and existence. The very language of the discipline is disingenuous, as if conceived to mislead. The Annual Allowable Cut is not a limit never to be exceeded but a quota to be met. The ‘falldown effect’, the net decline in timber production as the old growth is depleted, is promoted as if it were a natural phenomenon when it is, in fact, a stunning admission that the forests have been over cut every year since modern forestry was implemented in the 1940’s. ‘Multiple use forestry’ - which implies that the forests are managed for a variety of purposes, including recreation, tourism, wildlife - begins with a clearcut. Old growth is ‘harvested’, although it is never planted and no one expects it to grow back Ancient forests are ‘decadent’ and ‘over-mature’, when by any ecological definition they are at their richest and most biologically diverse state."

Wade Davis Forward to FALLDOWN


"We are not facing a choice between ecology and economics. If we do not reduce our assault on the forests, there will be no economic returns in the not too distant future. We have to save the ecological systems and enable them to return to a healthy condition so that there can be a small but viable forest industry for our children and their children."

Patricia Marchak Falldown

"This sea change is best illustrated with reference to old-growth forests, loosely thought of as unmanaged forests that have remained intact since before the large-scale industrialization of BC (for a discussion of the criteria used in defining old-growth forests, see Kimmins 1992: 139-48). Until recently, the prevailing attitude emphasized the rapid depletion of old-growth forests, because they are stable from the perspective of wood volumes. That is, old-growth forests were considered no-growth forests, the cutting and replacement of which would improve forest productivity, defined as annual increments in wood volume. Indeed, in Percy's (1986: 22) analysis, given the presence of substantial "decadent" or "stagnant" stands in mature forests, rather than cutting timber too rapidly, in BC "the main fault may have been in not cutting timber rapidly enough." Economically, by not cutting mature forests before "decadence," income is lost in the short and the long run. From this perspective, a major concern of sustained-yield management is to ensure rotation periods are based on economic rather than biological criteria (Percy 1986: 20-5)."


"The difference between the logger and the forester," one of Ontario’s pioneer foresters (Fermow) explained, "is that the former is a harvester of nature’s crop, and exploiter of natural resources, cashing the accumulated wood capital, a mere converting into useful shape of a crop to the production of which he has contributed nothing and to the reproduction of which he does not give any thought, while the forester is a producer of wood crops, just as the farmer is a producer of food crops…. The main difference, then, between the forester and the lumberman is their attitude toward the future". …

"A forester is not a mere botanist let loose to air his facts at the expense of others," the head of the Yale Forestry School told a Canadian audience in 1906, "neither is he a fire ranger, a lumberman, a sportsman, an arboriculturalist, a dendrologist, a silviculturist, or any other ist…. His business is to grow crops of trees, AND MAKE THEM PAY".

H.V. Nelles The Politics of Development

"The ten years following World War 11 were the golden age for the concept of maximum sustained yield…..The literature crackled with new information and new ideas. The solidification of the concept of MSY, its application to fisheries here, there, and everywhere, was just underway…. It was in consequence of this flowering of activity that the graduate students of those days had a missionary zeal about them, and as more than one wit has said, ‘They had a fine vocabulary of stained glass language.’ Briefly, the dogma was this: any species each year produces a harvestable surplus, and if you take that much, and no more, you can go on getting it forever and ever (Amen)."

Peter Larkin  An Epitaph for the Concept of Maximum Sustained Yield


"The "Maximum Sustainable Yield" concept is almost universally applied to single-species fisheries despite some remarkable failures to predict collapses and calls for better methods. Its limitations were documented as long as twenty years ago: consideration of environmental fluctuations for example is a major omission.

With recent renewed scrutiny of MSY estimates, a number of problems are readily apparent: the models largely depend on catch data in relation to fishing effort from fishers who are partial to misreporting and exceeding quotas to stay in business.

Further, scientists are usually called-in to advise managers once the fishery is in troubled waters and it is nigh impossible to separate fishing impacts from natural fluctuations.

To compound those problems, the models are founded on assumptions that are impossible to substantiate. For example, in many models natural mortality is assumed to be constant and independent of age and that fishing mortality is accurately known."

Linda Worland Tidepool website

SY: A quantity that biologists say does not exist. That economists say would be irrelevant if it did exist. It is, in short, the most important concept in fisheries management.

John Gulland

"In the past, Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) emerging from forestry schools across Canada were narrowly trained to maximize fibre production on a given area of land. Safeguarding the health and integrity of ecosystems did not constitute an important dimension of their education or of their work. In the 1990s, significant and long-needed changes are taking place in the forestry curricula in many Canadian schools. However, the new approach is still framed within the sustained yield forest management paradigm, and on prioritizing fibre production over ecosystem health and integrity. Only fundamental reform of the forestry profession can create the New Forester to practice the New Forestry."

Fred Gale The Wealth of Forests

"The resource cycle is offered as a comparative explanation of some of the pitfalls of the dominant industrial model of resource use in Canada, and in many other nations. It proposes that commercial consumptive use, combined with yield maximizing management, causes the collapse of renewable resources and challenges the presumption of developmentalist governments that resource-led development based on commodity production is, or can be, a model for sustainable economies and ecosystems (cf. Auty 1994)".

Roger A. Clapp Canadian Geographer

"Because of landuse change, the terrestrial biosphere of the 21st century will probably be further impoverished in species richness and substantially re-organized. More natural systems will be in an early successional state or converted to production systems. The biosphere will be generally weedier and structurally simpler, with fewer areas in an ecologically complex old growth state."

Brian Walker Will Steffin Conservation Ecology

"….(T)he interests of future generations have also been invoked to justify sustained yield policies. This theory assumes that wood volume will continue to be indispensable in the long term. It has sometimes incorrectly presumed that Roosevelt and Pinchot used the interests of future generations as the primary rationale for sustained yield policies. Callicott (1990:16), for example, states that "the first moral principle of the (Pinchot’s) Resource Conservation Ethic is equity - the just or fair distribution of natural resources amongst present and also future generations of consumers and users." However, contrary to Callicott’s interpretation, Pinchot (1910:42) was explicit on this issue: "There has been a fundamental misconception that conservation means nothing but the husbanding of resources for future generations. There could be no more serious mistake. Conservation does mean provision for the future, but it means also and first of all the recognition of the right of the present generation to the fullest necessary use of all the resources with which this country is so abundantly blessed. Conservation demands the welfare of this generation first, and afterward the welfare of the generations to follow."


"Another limitation of the maximum sustained yield model is that it does not accommodate the complexities of the marine ecosystem. The principle of maximum sustained yield was developed before much was known about the ecology of fisheries. Some premises of the model are inconsistent with the ecological knowledge that has been gained. For example, the model assumes that fishing is the only external factor that affects fish stocks. However, ecological studies have indicated that fluctuations are brought on by a number of different factors, including varying climate, natural disasters, poor natural conditions and pollution. Fluctuations, other than those brought on by fishing, change the carrying capacity of the fish species. However, the maximum sustained yield model only accounts for the effects of fishing on the carrying capacity, and therefore harvest sizes are miscalculated."

Jodi Jensen Scripps College

"Prior to the adoption of sustained yield policies, beginning in the 1940’s, the volume of timber harvested was determined by a combination of what markets demanded and what the industry was capable of cutting and processing…. The purpose of yield regulation policies adopted at this time was not to restrict the activity of an expanding Canadian forest industry. Indeed, it was intended to create a certain type of age- stratified forest which would provide predictable and equal volumes of timber each year in perpetuity. Fermow called this forest a "normal" forest and today the volume it produces is known as the "long run sustained yield….The yield-regulation policies now in force in most provinces are modified versions of a system originally intended to create a forest with evenly distributed age classes, with the objective of stabilizing local forest economies….

" Sustainable forest management entails the management of whole forests in all their dynamic diversity over time. Under the sustained yield regime, in which we still function, forest policy and industrial structure focussed management efforts on a single forest value - usually timber - within constraints imposed to protect other values.

"Sustained yield, as defined in the 1945 BC Royal Commission report that introduced in Canada the policies which shaped the past half century of forest use, has as its objective "to so manage our forests, that all our forest land is sustaining a perpetual yield of timber to the fullest extent of its productive capacity"…

" Acceptance of this new concept {SFM}presents us with an enormous challenge requiring the fullest exercise of our creative abilities."

Apsey, Laishley, Nordin, Paille The Perpetual Forest The Forest Chronicle

"It should also be self-evident that the concept of maximum sustained yield employs a sum-ranking, or maximization, rule. But it is employed in two stages. First, the commodity that is most in demand is singled out from among those that could be extracted from a piece of land. As Page writes: "Conservationists recommend that many natural assets be managed on a sustained yield basis. To do this one must of course first identify the assets to be managed. Presumably not every organism and every natural environment is to be preserved in perpetuity, only the most ‘important’ ones" (1997:179). Traditionally, timber has been this single commodity on forest land. Second, the chosen commodity is then harvested at the maximum sustainable rate.

"However, the key to understanding the utilitarian basis of maximum sustained yield is not so much its employment of a maximization rule as its conception of welfare. Although utilization seeks to maximize the aggregate sum of human welfare, the goal of maximum sustained yield does not seek to maximize welfare directly. Instead, it seeks an indirect route by way of maximizing the production of a commodity that people want, such as merchantable timber in the case of forestry. The maximization of timber production is therefor one of the "proximate criteria" to which Worrell referred. It has often simply been assumed that human welfare will be maximized by way of maximizing timber production. The welfarist component of utilitarianism is a value theory, as previously explained. Human welfare, it claims is that which is good. Sustained yield forestry simply substitutes wood volume for "good". In other words, wood is good."


"The primary goal of resource management - sustained yield - evolved from the utilitarian values of the Progressive Era. Intuitively, sustained yield is a logical and laudable goal: no more is taken than can be replenished. As it has come to be implemented, however, the concept of sustained yield has been modified to mean taking the maximum supply a system can withstand (i.e., the furthest point to which production can be pushed without impairment of the resource’s ability to reproduce). One of our colleagues calls this ‘management at the edge of harm’."

The Politics Of Ecosystem Management Hanna Cortner and Margaret A. Moote

"Preservation of future stewardship options is rarely possible when current rates of resource exploitation are high. Preserving options assumes an acceptable "decision space" will be available to address the environmental problems confronting future human generations. However, many forest and range ecosystems have experienced intensive resource management and utilization by Euro-Americans with adverse effects on their productive potential. The most significant changes in these systems have occurred over the last 200 years. For example, in forested systems most of the old-growth has been converted to younger stands; extensive road systems have been built with outdated technologies based on unsustainable levels of resource use. In rangeland areas, alterations to riparian systems and stream channels has been extensive, a consequence of historical watershed and riparian management practices. In either of these situations, future stewardship options have been reduced or, in some cases, essentially eliminated. While current stewardship activities can potentially reduce (sometimes increase) future options, if these practices significantly and adversely affect other resources or values, then they are also likely to significantly limit future options. If current practices result in species becoming threatened or endangered, water quality standards being exceeded, or public values and trust violated, then dramatic readjustments to current stewardship activities are clearly needed.

Preserving options is also a way of explicitly acknowledging our incomplete knowledge of complex ecosystems – that is, our ignorance of how they function and their interactions with natural and human influenced disturbance regimes – and our responsibilities to future human generations. This philosophy is perhaps best encapsulated by focusing more on what we leave behind in exploited ecosystems than on what is taken from them."

Committee of Scientists Third draft Preliminary report July 98

"SFM is primarily a systematic approach to sustaining each component of the forest ecosystem and sustaining interactions between the components. In forests available for wood supply, this means combining wood production with other management objectives. These other broader objectives include, maintaining the full range of forest values in perpetuity and, particularly, ecological capacity through the conservation of plant and animal biological diversity and soil and water conservation. These were not clearly specified in the traditional sustainable yield management concept.

Even though a shift from sustained yield to SFM, could mean a corresponding shift from forest management to ecosystem management, the implications for timber supply can be very significant. From a production perspective, the central question is whether a transition to SFM will create unacceptable levels of economic hardship during the adjustment phase. Given that forest resources and pressures on resources are distributed unevenly, it is evident that the burdens of adjustment will also fall unevenly across countries. A key issue is whether the trend towards preservation-oriented forestry will continue and whether it will transform the policies of key producer countries, particularly in North America, Europe and Asia, causing them to restrict harvesting over large areas of production forests."


"Through government regulation, "sustained-yield" forestry has become the norm for forest management in North America. As the name implies, sustained-yield forest management focuses on the net productivity of surface resources in the forest. Economic considerations are paramount, and to achieve commercially viable levels of timber in perpetuity, sustained-yield forest management requires frequent intrusions into the woods and aggressive reforestation after harvest. This results in more evenly-aged, less diverse tracts of forestland. In essence, sustained-yield forest management is lowest-common-denominator forestry, producing wood of only average quality and engineering a forest ecosystem that lacks the depth and richness of the natural order."

David Ford  Certified Forest Products Council

Wrong focus of resource management

Based on this perspective modern natural resource management has been successful at rapidly achieving a set of narrowly defined goals. It has focused on controlling the flow of specific resources into the economy such as fish, trees, water, or cattle, thereby achieving social objectives, such as employment and economic growth. The field has relied on the use of fixed rules for achieving constant yields, as in fixed carrying capacity of animals and fixed maximum sustainable yields (MSY) of fish and forest prod_ucts. Success has generally been equated with increasing yields, and increasing economic returns.

This "success" has been accomplished through an active reduction of variability in the flow of the resource into the economy, to a large extent made possible by the development of new technology. The initial success changed the focus from managing natural resources to improving efficiency of the methods of resource management (including technological development). For example, bigger fishing fleets were built and there were increased fishing efforts to maintain the yield from decreasing fish stocks. The technological "success" amplified the mental alienation of modern society from the dependence on functional ecosystems. Human ingenuity expressed in new technology was believed to be an effective conqueror of the fluctuations of nature. Management institutions, like fisheries, forestry, agricultural and other governmental boards, became more rigid and less responsive to critical changes in the ecosystem.

Folke, Pritchard, Berkes, Colding and Svedin The Problem of fit Between ecosystems and Institutions

"The major problem facing the government is that virtually all of the coniferous land base has been allocated on the basis of sustained-yield management (Fig. 5), and the overall rate of harvest (including deciduous) is nearing full utilization on this basis (Fig. 6). Consequently, there is little flexibility in the system for decreasing the annual allowable cut, which is required to implement certain features of EBM (such as maintaining older age classes of forest or retaining live trees on harvest blocks)….

"The government's failure to ensure the implementation of EBM may also reflect a reluctance to abandon earlier policies of maximizing economic returns from the forest. Several actions taken by the government since the release of the AFCS provide evidence of this:

"Instead of placing a moratorium on new timber allocations, the government has continued its policy of fully allocating the forest on the basis of sustained-yield management, progressively removing what little flexibility remains in the system.

"The government continues to manage quota holders on the basis of sustained-yield management, lagging substantially behind the changes being implemented by most FMA holders in the province."

R. Schneider Forest Management in Alberta: A Review

"To illustrate how inadequate existing knowledge has been, consider the important discoveries of the last 25 years with regard to: (1) the extraordinary dynamics of the belowground subsystem and its high energy requirements; (2) the importance of the dead tree and its derivatives in the long-term functioning and habitat diversity of forests, streams, and rivers; (3) the scale and complexity of edge influences that can be created through forest harvest practices; and (4) the importance of biological legacies, living and dead, in ecosystem recovery following catastrophic disturbances, and the poor match in conditions and processes between most natural disturbances and clearcutting.

This is just a small sample of recent scientific insights into forest ecosystems. In fundamental ways, each of these findings alters our view of these forests and how they work . We simply did not understand some very basic aspects of forest structure and function. Consequently, traditional forestry approaches, based on a very simple view of a forest, have proven very inadequate. Resource managers thought that they could grossly simplify forests without consequence. They have done so on a grand scale, and often react energetically against adoption of alternative models of how forest ecosystems work.

There is no question that recognizing the potential ecological value of a dead tree makes life much more difficult (or, put another way, more interesting) for the silviculturalist. Perhaps as important, it challenges the basic value set for foresters, many of whom share a strongly utilitarian view of the forest."

Jerry Franklin Conservation Ecology

"Much of the debate surrounding harvest regulation has involved differing opinions on whether the AAC was too high or too low; or whether market-based regulation would be a better policy instrument for achieving sustainability. Reducing the AAC, zoning the forest to separate high-yield timber production areas from conservation areas and then using market-based mechanisms to regulate timber supply may prove to be more successful at achieving sustained yield than current policies. These actions will not, however, prove to be any more successful than the current policies in achieving sustainable forests and sustainable communities. The achievement of sustainability is not just about limit setting, nor is it just about choosing between the state and the market to regulate timber supply. It is about a radically different notion of sustainability based on ecological principles of wholeness and the awareness of pervasive and unpredictable change."

Lois Dellert Sustained Yield in THE WEALTH OF FORESTS

"The primary product of ecoforestry is the forest itself. Anything we take out is a by-product. "

Jim Drescher Ecoforestry Journal

"Under Cumming's natural disturbance regime, the annual area disturbed would be 22 percent of that suggested by Murphy's 2% natural disturbance regime, and about 45 percent of that scheduled under sustained yield management with a 100 year rotation. This clearly has some important timber supply implications, especially if the forest is in transition from sustained yield management to natural disturbance based management. In Alberta, most of the boreal forest has been allocated to industry through long term forest management agreements: there is little or no room to increase harvest levels in any part of the province given natural timber growth rates. Large scale industrial development has occurred on the assumption of a timber supply level appropriate to sustained yield management. Would society be willing to pay for the perceived benefits of NDM management with a drop in harvestable area and economic activity of such magnitude?"

Glen W. Armstrong Three Papers On Natural Disturbance Model of Forest Management

In the last two decades, the focus of forest management has been shifting from Sustained Yield Timber Management (SYTM) to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). The concept of sustainable yield of timber, like the bulk of the orthodox economic theory, is based on the idea of a stable unique equilibrium. In the context of Contemporary Forest Economics, this concept is applied just to timber and marketed industrial products. Occasionally, non-timber forest products and associated non-market forest products and services have been discussed, but always within the framework of markets; resource allocation mechanisms have also been investigated only within that specific format.

Shashi Kant Economics of Sustainable Forest Management

"From the onset, the potential for environmental advances was restricted by certain fundamental realities. Most of these could be linked to policy legacies, and particularly to the accumulated momentum of what we have called the liquidation-conversion project. As Robert Putnam reminds us, institutions and policies have historical trajectories: ‘History matters because it is "path dependent"; what comes first (even if it was in some sense "accidental") conditions what comes later. Individuals may "choose" their institutions, but they do not choose them under circumstances of their own making, and their choices in turn influence the rules within which their successors choose’. The liquidation-conversion project gathered momentum as more and more workers, investors, suppliers, and governmental officials acquired a stake in maintaining or increasing timber harvesting rates. This momentum increased as workers set down roots, as businesses designed to serve forest companies and workers sprouted in forest dependent communities across the province, as logging contractors mortgaged their future to purchase rigs, as investors poured dollars into expanding logging and milling capacity, and as governmental bureaucracies set themselves up to monitor and facilitate the whole operation. The resulting pattern of dependency, and the associated political pressures, structured the policy space, established the boundaries between the politically feasible and unfeasible."

Jeremy Wilson Talk And Log

This year, the Canadian Forest Service celebrates its centennial. As its name has evolved over the years, so has its purpose, from ``sustained yield forestry'' -- in which foresters cut just enough off the tops of trees to perpetuate an unlimited fuel supply – to today's definition of ``sustainability.''

Frank Dobrovnik Sault Star

Sustainability is not a new idea for forestry. In fact, a concern for sustainability is what separates forestry from logging. However, in the past sustainability for forestry was almost always interpreted in terms of a sustained flow of commodities, principally timber. The new view of sustainability is less oriented to commodity output and expands the concept to include all the benefits and values of the forest, including wildlife and fish, biotic diversity, recreation, landscape protection, and aesthetics. Under the new sustainability all of these properties of the forest are of value and it becomes essential that all continue to be available for the benefit of future generations. It is important to note that ultimately sustainability is a value judgement and not scientific fact.

Arthur W. Cooper FDCH Congressional Testimony 03/02/2000


"In my own field, forestry, group A is quite content to grow trees like cabbages, with cellulose as the basic forest com-modity. It feels no inhibition against violence; its ideology is agronomic. Group B, on the other hand, sees forestry as fundamentally different from agronomy because it employs natural species, and manages a natural environment rather than creating an artificial one. Group B prefers natural reproduction on principle. It worries on biotic as well as economic grounds about the loss of species like chestnut, and the threatened loss of the white pines. It worries about a whole series of secondary forest functions: wildlife, recreation, watersheds, wilderness areas. To my mind, Group B feels the stirrings of an ecological conscience."

Aldo Leopold A Sand County Almanac


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