What Is Sustainable Forest Management? - Definition and Examples

Start Your Free Trial To Continue Watching
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 8,500 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.
Free 5-day trial
It only takes a minute. You can cancel at any time.
Already registered? Login here for access.
Start your free trial to take this quiz
As a premium member, you can take this quiz and also access over 8,500 fun and engaging lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Get access today with a FREE trial!
Free 5-day trial
It only takes a minute to get started. You can cancel at any time.
Already registered? Login here for access.
  1. 0:07 Forests
  2. 1:29 Sustainable Forest Management
  3. 2:25 Examples of Sustainable…
  4. 3:29 Forest Principles
  5. 4:14 Benefits of Sustainable…
  6. 5:50 Lesson Summary
Show Timeline
Taught by

Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Sustainable forest management ensures that forest resources are preserved to meet the needs of future generations. Learn about sustainable forest management and see examples of how it is put into practice.


Have you ever thought about what life would be like without forests? The fact is that life as you know it, whether you live in a concrete jungle, like New York City, or in an actual jungle, like the Amazon of South America, would not be possible without forests. Why? Well, for one thing, forests capture and store carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, trap the sun's heat and are thought to cause excessive warming of the earth's surface. Forests also play an important role in the circulation of water from the Earth to the atmosphere, known as the 'water cycle'. Trees suck up groundwater and release it into the air as water vapor.

Beyond what trees do for our climate, they can be used as a source of fuel or turned into wood products, such as lumber or wood pulp for paper. The mere presence of a forest serves as protection against harsh weather events, protects soil from erosion during rainfall, and provides habitats for many biologically diverse plants and animals. So, you can image that it is in our best interest to protect the world's forests. In this lesson, you will learn how forests can be managed to ensure their sustainability.

Sustainable Forest Management

Sustainable forest management, also known as sustainable forestry, is the practice of regulating forest resources to meet the needs of society and industry while preserving the forest's health. Therefore, sustainable forest management is always looking to strike a balance between the demand for the forest's natural resources and the vitality of the forest.

Now, in the most basic terms, a forest can be sustained by planting a new sapling for every tree that is removed. However, that is an oversimplified solution.

Proper management of a forest must take into account an assortment of factors, which are assessed by a forest manager, or forester, who is the individual responsible for managing the balance of a forest's environmental, commercial, and recreational viability. Let's look at some ways a forest manager might practice sustainable forestry.

Examples of Sustainable Forest Management

One of the examples of sustainable forest management that a forest manager might employ to avoid the complete removal of a forest is to use selective logging. Selective logging is the practice of removing certain trees while preserving the balance of the woodland. Selective logging is more time consuming and more expensive then clearing the trees, but it preserves the forest's assets.

Another example of a sustainable forestry practice is allowing young trees time to mature. While a young tree may have value, its value will increase as it matures. Proper forest management will take into account the potential value of trees and delay the harvest of immature trees. In this way, sustainable forest management protects the long-term value of the forest. Other examples of sustainable forestry involve the planting of trees to extend forestlands, as well as the creation of protected forests that provide safe habitats for various plant and animal species.

Forest Principles

Sustainable forest management was not a concern for many nations until the Forest Principles were adopted in 1992 at The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The Forest Principles is a non-legally binding document that outlines suggestions for sustainable forestry.

This document provided the framework for the general understanding of what it meant to practice sustainable forestry. Even though this did not obligate national governments to put the principles into practice, it did bring to light the need for a global consensus on the proper management and conservation of forests, and stands out as a significant event in the history of sustainable forest management.

Benefits of Sustainable Forest Management

And, because the needs of society change over time, sustainable forest management is constantly evolving. Each forest area must be evaluated to ensure the forest will be healthy enough to meet the demands of future generations.

Unlock Content Over 8,500 lessons in all major subjects

Get FREE access for 5 days,
just create an account.

Start a FREE trial

No obligation, cancel anytime.

Want to learn more?

Select a subject to preview related courses:

People are saying…

"This just saved me about $2,000 and 1 year of my life." — Student

"I learned in 20 minutes what it took 3 months to learn in class." — Student

See more testimonials

Did you like this?
Yes No

Thanks for your feedback!

What didn't you like?

What didn't you like?

Next Video
Create your Account

Sign up now for your account. Get unlimited access to 8,500 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.

Meet Our Instructors

Meet all 53 of our instructors