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Forest management is the thoughtful and considered approach that a person or organization takes to the long-term stewardship of a forest’s natural resources to meet specific goals. Goals can vary widely depending on the management project and may include wood production, improving wildlife habitat, and protecting the forest’s interconnected waterways.
Forest management and forestry are umbrella terms that encompass many different ways of treating a forest and are conducted by licensed foresters.
Growing and harvesting trees in the right way and in the right places to produce the wood that society needs is better for the climate than harvesting no trees at all. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made this clear: “A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber or energy from the forest will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”*
The wood products we all use have to come from somewhere. If the United States reduced the amount of wood it produced, any progress we claimed to make in reducing global atmospheric CO2 levels by storing carbon in our unharvested trees would be eclipsed by emissions from other forestry markets.
Since 1944, New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) has been devoted to the practice, teaching and promotion of sustainable forestry that accounts for the many ways forests benefit the world—like by cleaning water as it runs through forests toward rivers and streams—rather than just wood production alone. Over time, the science-based sustainable forestry NEFF chose to not only practice on its own lands but also test and improve upon became Exemplary Forestry: a carbon-storing powerhouse that prioritizes forests’ long-term health. Exemplary Forestry is designed to work in balance with unharvested wildlands that serve as ecological reserves.
Here in New England, NEFF has a plan for wide-scale implementation of Exemplary Forestry that would simultaneously increase the amount of carbon stored in forests and produce sustainably grown wood—some of which can be used to make products that substitute for carbon-intensive building materials like steel and concrete.
*Quote taken from “Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.” Access the report at www.ipcc.ch/srccl
Exemplary Forestry is a landscape-scale forestry approach that sets high standards for sustainability while addressing three key goals: mitigating climate change, improving wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and growing and harvesting more sustainably produced wood.
Since 1944, NEFF’s approach to forest management has accounted for the many ways forests benefit the world—like by cleaning water as it runs toward rivers and streams—rather than just wood production alone. From start to finish, learn what it looks like when NEFF manages its more than 150 Community Forests with Exemplary Forestry, and who we bring in to help. Learn more.
Visit this section if you’re curious about how NEFF manages its lands, or if you’re a landowner who would like to know more about working with and hiring certified foresters.
The concept of sustainable forestry has shifted over the years, but to this day, almost none of the standard models of sustainable forestry account for whether or not they harm the climate. It’s time for that to change.
In the 1930s and 40s, an eclectic group of foresters and outdoor enthusiasts grew concerned about destructive overharvesting on private New England forests, and founded NEFF in 1944 in response. Learn more, including about the management of some of our early forests, like the pictured then-and-now Lincoln Davis Memorial Forest.