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Natural Climate Solutions
Jan 19 • 3 min read

Sustainable forest management requires multi-objective forest planning

Incorporating multiple objectives to forest management planning does not only support sustainable operations, but can also provide valuable insight in (and of) the changing environment.

  • Forests are subject to developing regulation and new market mechanisms that can enable new business opportunities within the forest sector.
  • Holistic monitoring of forests serves also as risk management as the exact impacts of climate change to ecosystems is unknown.

Total environmental impact is no longer a good-to-know but a must-know in the forest sector.

The prevailing megatrends create need for multi-objective forest planning

Global megatrends are supporting long-term and sustainable demand for a number of forest ecosystems services. Most importantly, due to the ability to sequester atmospheric carbon, forests can enable significant climate mitigation outcomes across several sectors of the economy. Carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services are however results of healthy ecosystems which are endangered by the globally declining biodiversity. In addition to livelihood, our wellbeing and future on this green planet essentially depend on healthy ecosystems that support life on Earth as we have come to know it.

The worrying decline originates most significantly from overexploitation of natural resources and land-use change. Simultaneously the natural landscape is changing and/or vanishing from nearby. Both the rapid entrenchment of different technologies into our everyday life as well as the recent global pandemic has highlighted the recreational value of natural ‘off-grid’ spaces. 

The previously mentioned and many other impacts of the driving megatrends (most significantly climate change, urbanisation, population growth, digitalisation, biodiversity decline) are largely interlinked and call for solutions to incorporate multiple objectives to forest planning. Multi-objective forest planning and monitoring is indeed key in supporting sustainable forest management, which goes far beyond sustainable timber production. 

Existing science-based applications for the estimation of different ecosystem services can provide valuable insight for multi-objective forest planning and management. Despite the current lack of uniformity of such applications, early adaptation of comprehensive monitoring systems will provide a head start once an incentivising regulation takes place. In addition, the early adopters have the possibility to engage in the ongoing research and development, and creation of practical solutions for comprehensive forest monitoring.

At the end of the day, the development of harmonized methods is however essential for global data comparability which can only be achieved by harmonization of analytical protocols.

How different objectives are integrated in the forest value chain?

Learn more about the topic from the downloadable document as part of a Smart Forestry document series which provide insight to advanced forest asset management. Holistic forest management (or again ‘advanced forest asset management’) is a defining factor towards mitigation of climate change. As in many sectors, here also digital enablers and operational efficiency present significant opportunities that benefit the environment, society and businesses.

The document dives deeper into following topics:

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Biodiversity, landscape and recreation
  • Finding the balance
  • Existing solutions enable multi-objective forest planning and support sustainable management
Download the Whitepaper here >
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