“With the exception of some high-flying migrant species, nature doesn't commute to work.” - Janine Benyus, Biomimicry

Aquinas College

Sustainable Forestry


Birds eye view of deforestation in Madagascar
Photo courtesy of Rhett Butler at WildMadagascar.org

The Dictionary of Forestry defines sustainable forestry as "the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality, and potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic, and social functions at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems." Forests are essential to our survival, as they provide habitat and food for wildlife, protect topsoil from erosion, provide us with natural resources and give us oxygen to breath.

Sustainable forestry practices generally include select timber harvesting (or sustained-yield harvesting), instead of the common global method of clear-cutting. With sustained-yield, the amount of trees removed from a forest never exceeds natural regrowth. Only select trees are removed from a forest and they are often diseased or damaged, or the removal will benefit the forest's health. Sustainable harvesting will also generally use the entire tree where so no part is wasted.

Taking into account all of the natural services, raw material and medicinal products that forests provide, we should be protecting this valuable and vital resource.


Forest Certification Resource Center

The Forest Certification Resource Center aims to use market-based incentives to encourage sustainable forest management practices. A range of independent certifications can verify that forests are well-managed, and ensure that certain wood and paper products come from responsibly managed forests.

This site is a great resource to learn about sustainably manufactured wood products from all over the world. It offers three search engines in which you can query a geographic database for certified and sustainably managed forests, as well as sustainably manufactured wood products. In addition, you can find out if a given company has any certifications. All great tools for everyone from the curious individual to the materials purchaser within your company.

Healthy Forests Initiative

The Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) was launched in August of 2002 by President Bush with the intent to reduce the risks that severe wildfires pose to people, communities, and the environment. By protecting forests, woodlands, shrub-lands, and grasslands from unnaturally intensive and destructive fires, HFI helps improve the condition of our public lands, increases firefighter safety, and conserves landscape attributes valued by society.

A specifically interesting component of this site is that you can view how Community Wildfire Protection Plans have been implemented in your State.

National Community Forestry Center

The National Community Forestry Center- Northern Forest Region, serves the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Central & Northeastern New York. Their core purpose is to help rural people conduct and use research to make informed decisions about forest resources.

Particularly notable on the site is a geographic database of forestry projects throughout the Northern Forest Region. Itís an excellent tool for anyone interested in or conducting research on forest ecology and management techniques to find out about demonstration forest projects.

Funded by the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
Site by CMC/GrandNet