Special Issue "Sustainable Forest Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Robert Deal
Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 620 SW Main Street, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Interests: Ecosystem services; sustainable forest management; forest stand dynamics; applied silviculture.
Dr. Richard Bergman
Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI 53726-2398,USA
Interests: life-cycle analysis; eco-labels; green buildings; forest and forest products carbon; GHG mitigation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable forest management is the practice of meeting the needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. It implies a land stewardship ethic that integrates ecological, economic, and social considerations for forestry, including reforestation (managing, growing, nurturing, and harvesting of trees for useful products), conservation (soil, water, wildlife and fisheries habitat), aesthetics, and socioeconomic benefits to meet societal needs. This Special Issue on sustainable forest management (SFM) will include emerging issues for SFM such as forest certification and certified forest products, ecosystem services and markets, life cycle assessment of forest products, certified forestry systems, and economic contributions to sustainable forestry. In particular, this Issue will include papers that broadly focus on SFM at national to international scales, including ecosystem services and markets for carbon, water, wetlands, and recreation; life cycle assessment of forest products and mass timber structures; certified forest products from sustainably managed forests; forest certification and eco-labelling of forest products and wood structures; certified forestry systems in Asia, North America, Europe, and Oceania; and economic contributions of wood products to sustainable forestry and other related topics important for SFM.

Dr. Robert Deal
Dr. Richard Bergman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable forest management
  • certified forest products
  • life cycle assessment
  • ecosystem services and markets
  • sustainable forestry
  • forest certification
  • eco-labelling of forest products
  • economic contributions of wood products

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Success Factors of National-Scale Forest Restorations in South Korea, Vietnam, and China
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123488 - 25 Jun 2019
Abstract
The total global forest area is decreasing significantly, yet stories of successful large-scale forest restoration are still scarce. In the 1980s, when properly designed concepts and methodologies were absent, state-led, large-scale restoration projects in lower-income countries (LICs) in Asia were already successful. These [...] Read more.
The total global forest area is decreasing significantly, yet stories of successful large-scale forest restoration are still scarce. In the 1980s, when properly designed concepts and methodologies were absent, state-led, large-scale restoration projects in lower-income countries (LICs) in Asia were already successful. These then LICs—South Korea, Vietnam, and China—experienced dramatic forest land use changes driven by different socioeconomic and political developments, from deforestation and forest degradation to reforestation and ecological restoration. This study examines the institutional settings of each country’s restoration programs, focusing on the inputs of the external factors, their effects on the relevant action arena, and their payment mechanisms. By conducting critical comparisons between three country cases, we found that the ability of nations that had implemented reforestation programs to restore their forests was often influenced by external variables, which included biophysical conditions, local community attributes, and local, state, and federal rules. The result of this research provides practical implications and contributes to the body of literature comparing restoration cases from Asian countries, which have rarely been investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
Open AccessArticle
Forest Investment Framework as a Support Tool for the Sustainable Management of Planted Forests
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3477; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123477 - 25 Jun 2019
Abstract
Planted forest ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services such as timber, carbon sequestration, and avoided erosion. However, only ecosystem services with market values (e.g., timber) are usually represented in decision making while those with non-market values (e.g., avoided erosion) that [...] Read more.
Planted forest ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services such as timber, carbon sequestration, and avoided erosion. However, only ecosystem services with market values (e.g., timber) are usually represented in decision making while those with non-market values (e.g., avoided erosion) that are difficult to quantify are often ignored. A spatial economic tool, the Forest Investment Framework (FIF), integrates data from forest growth models with spatial, biophysical, and economic data, to quantify the broader value of planted forests and to represent non-market values in sustainable forest management. In this paper, we have tested the applicability of FIF in three types of case studies: assessment of afforestation feasibility, regional economic analyses, and ecosystem service assessment. This study provides evidence that a spatial economic tool that quantifies the economic, environmental, and social values of the planted forest ecosystem is valuable in informing land management decisions for maintaining and enhancing the provision of market and non-market ecosystem services to society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessCommunication
Forest Certification: More Than a Market-Based Tool, Experiences from the Asia Pacific Region
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2600; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092600 - 06 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Over the last 25 years, the global area of certified forests has grown rapidly and voluntary forest certification has become recognized as an effective tool to engage international markets in improving sustainability within forest management units. However, the bulk of this growth has [...] Read more.
Over the last 25 years, the global area of certified forests has grown rapidly and voluntary forest certification has become recognized as an effective tool to engage international markets in improving sustainability within forest management units. However, the bulk of this growth has occurred in North America, Northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, with relatively limited uptake in the tropics. Since its creation, forest certification has been largely understood as a “market-based” mechanism, in contrast to government-led policies and regulations. Through the experience of the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) partnership in the Asia Pacific region, we find that the framing of forest certification as voluntary and market-based, and as a mechanism to overcome governance failure, has created an artificial dichotomy. In this dichotomy, voluntary certification and regulatory measures to promote sustainable forest management are conceived of and pursued largely independently. We argue that it is more constructive to view them as complementary approaches that share a common goal of increasing sustainability across the forestry sector. In practice, forest certification interacts with conventional governance institutions and mechanisms. Understanding these interactions and their implications, as well as additional possibilities for interaction, will help in realizing the full potential of forest certification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
Open AccessArticle
Efforts toward Creating a Sustainable Business Model: An Empirical Investigation of Small-Scale Certified Forestry Firms in Taiwan
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2523; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092523 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Forest certification plays a notable role in promoting sustainability. This certification shows that forestland holders have adopted innovative practices toward realizing sustainable business models. Relatively little analysis has been devoted to identifying the efforts of transforming a conventional business model into a sustainable [...] Read more.
Forest certification plays a notable role in promoting sustainability. This certification shows that forestland holders have adopted innovative practices toward realizing sustainable business models. Relatively little analysis has been devoted to identifying the efforts of transforming a conventional business model into a sustainable version through the application of forest certification. This paper examines the elements of a sustainable business model: value proposition, value creation and delivery, and value capture in certified forestland holders’ business operations. Empirical results have confirmed that certification signifies a successful sustainability transformation within adopting firms. However, these small organizations struggle with obtaining know-how regarding sustainable forest management. There needs to be adequate external support, such as government consultants or academic researchers, in order to successfully adopt third-party forest certification. However, while practicing sustainable forest management activities will not guarantee premium prices, the certification has, in some rare cases, helped to develop a new niche market. Good communication with stakeholders has improved firms’ relationships with local residents, but more channels of communication are still needed to activate green consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Variations of Forest Cover in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1517; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061517 - 13 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
An understanding of changes in forest cover and the drivers of forest transition (FT) contributes to the sustainable management of global forests. In this paper, we used the latest global land cover data published by the European Space Agency (ESA) to investigate spatiotemporal [...] Read more.
An understanding of changes in forest cover and the drivers of forest transition (FT) contributes to the sustainable management of global forests. In this paper, we used the latest global land cover data published by the European Space Agency (ESA) to investigate spatiotemporal variation characteristics of forest cover in developing countries from 1992 to 2015, and then analyzed causal factors of this variation using a binary logistic regression model. Existing studies on FT are mostly based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); this study improves our understanding of FT mechanisms through the use of a new dataset. The results indicate that the forest area in developing countries decreased from 21.8 to 21.3 million km2 from 1992–2015, and the rate of decline slowed after 2004. South America suffered the largest reduction in forest area (505,100 km2), whereas forest area in Africa increased slightly. By 2015, more than 80% of African countries had experienced FT, whereas only half of developing countries experienced forest expansion in South America. The variables affecting FT occurrence differed among continents. On the global scale, the remaining forest coverage and the proportion of forest exports negatively affected the likelihood of FT occurrence, whereas urbanization level had a positive effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) Produced in Western Washington: The Role of Logistics and Wood Species Mix
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051278 - 28 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), as an environmentally sustainable building material, has generated significant interest among the wood products industry, architects and policy makers in Washington State. However, the environmental impacts of CLT panels can vary significantly depending on material logistics and [...] Read more.
The use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), as an environmentally sustainable building material, has generated significant interest among the wood products industry, architects and policy makers in Washington State. However, the environmental impacts of CLT panels can vary significantly depending on material logistics and wood species mix. This study developed a regionally specific cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of CLT produced in western Washington. Specifically, this study focused on transportation logistics, mill location, and relevant wood species mixes to provide a comparative analysis for CLT produced in the region. For this study, five sawmills (potential lamstock suppliers) in western Washington were selected along with two hypothetical CLT mills. The results show that the location of lumber suppliers, in reference to the CLT manufacturing facilities, and the wood species mix are important factors in determining the total environmental impacts of the CLT production. Additionally, changing wood species used for lumber from a heavier species such as Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) to a lighter species such as Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) could generate significant reduction in the global warming potential (GWP) of CLT. Given the size and location of the CLT manufacturing facilities, the mills can achieve up to 14% reduction in the overall GWP of the CLT panels by sourcing the lumber locally and using lighter wood species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of AHP and a Utility-Based Theory Method for Selected Vertical and Horizontal Forest Structure Indicators in the Sustainability Assessment of Forest Management in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Madrid Region
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114101 - 08 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper compares two pairwise comparison methods, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and a utility theory based method (UTB method), for sustainability assessment in forest management at the local level. Six alternatives were ranked, corresponding to six different types of forest management in [...] Read more.
This paper compares two pairwise comparison methods, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and a utility theory based method (UTB method), for sustainability assessment in forest management at the local level. Six alternatives were ranked, corresponding to six different types of forest management in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in the Madrid Region in Spain. The methods were tested by postgraduate students enrolled in a “Decision Support Systems” course at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Three sustainability indicators were considered: structural diversity, timber yield, and amount of biomass. The utility theory based method was the first to be compared, which is implemented in the computer program SILVANET. For each pair of alternatives, the students were asked which one they considered to be more sustainable. In the case of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, the students compared the indicators and the alternatives for each indicator. The Spearman’s correlation coefficient indicated that there was no correlation between the rankings for most of the students. The results revealed that the convergence in opinion in the AHP method was higher than in the utility based method for a low number of participants, and distinguished the differences between the alternatives more accurately. However in the case of the UTB method, the participants considered sustainability as a whole and made a more context-based comparison. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Decomposition of Factors Influencing the Export Growth of China’s Wood Forest Products
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2780; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082780 - 06 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Wood forest products (WFPs) are globally important environmental products, with economic, ecological, and renewable characteristics. China is the world’s largest WFP exporter. However, many factors, such as the downturn of traditional major export markets and the rise of the price of production factors, [...] Read more.
Wood forest products (WFPs) are globally important environmental products, with economic, ecological, and renewable characteristics. China is the world’s largest WFP exporter. However, many factors, such as the downturn of traditional major export markets and the rise of the price of production factors, have generated great challenges and uncertainties for China’s WFP export market. This study improves the product scope of WFPs. The category of WFPs has been expanded to 14 categories and 30 sub-categories, which is more detailed and more developed than in previous literature. Based on the United Nations’ Comtrade Database (COMTRADE), this paper uses the revised constant market share (CMS) model to measure and analyze empirically the factors affecting the export growth of China’s WFPs from the perspective of market, structure, and competitiveness. It is found that (1) the competitive effect exerts the biggest influence on export growth, followed by market size effects, with the effects of market distribution and product structure both being small; (2) wooden furniture, wooden products, plywood, paper, and its products play a main role in enhancing the competitive effect in China’s WFPs; and (3) China’s WFPs have a strong market competitiveness in other markets such as the USA, China Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Therefore, it is crucial for China’s WFP market to improve its product structure effects and market distribution effects in order for it to participate in international competition. On the other hand, considering that China’s exports of WFPs mainly consist of resource- and labor-intensive products, the improvement of standards such as the technology level, environmental protection and sustainable development, must not be ignored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Sustainable Forest Management Certification in Slovakia: Forest Owners’ Perception of Expectations, Benefits and Problems
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2470; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072470 - 14 Jul 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Forest certification as a voluntary verification tool has been providing an independent assessment of sustainable forestry practices and thus confidence in sustainability benchmarks for over 20 years. Using either the international or national approaches and initiatives, two main forest certification systems, PEFC (Programme [...] Read more.
Forest certification as a voluntary verification tool has been providing an independent assessment of sustainable forestry practices and thus confidence in sustainability benchmarks for over 20 years. Using either the international or national approaches and initiatives, two main forest certification systems, PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), have spread in a number of countries worldwide. The specifics of local conditions in the forestry sector have to be taken into account when implementing the certification context in a given country or a region. Apart from the natural conditions, institutional structure, or legislative framework, it is also the local and national stakeholders and their perception of this issue that provides the background for the implementation of the certification criteria. The main objective of this study is to examine the general understanding of the certification concept as an environmental, economic, and social tool, and to determine the incentives of forest owners in Slovakia for sustainable forest management (SFM) certification. In addition, the benefits and problems arising from participation in certification were identified and differences reflecting the ownership structure of forests, size of forest area, and participation in a particular certification programme were analysed. Results indicate that certified forest owners, unlike non-certified, demonstrated a high level of understanding of the SFM certification concept. Certified entities mainly consider forest certification as their commitment to environmental responsibility and a tool for improving external company image, promoting sustainable utilisation of forest resources, and improving forest management practices. The main benefits are linked to the possibility to demonstrate forest management practices, a better understanding of the forest management concept, and improvement of forest management practices. PEFC users perceive more benefits following from certification; the most important are those associated with non-economic values, while FSC-certified forest owners perceive mainly economic benefits connected to market penetration, increased sales volume, and potential price premiums. The key problems associated with certification relate to duties to ensure compliance with certification criteria by contractors and administrative difficulties. Respondents reported minimum price premiums for the sale of their certified timber. Additionally, the findings of the study pointed out that a nationally developed certification system can better recognise the roles and objectives of forest certification in the context of forest policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Life Cycle Assessment of Forest-Based Products: A Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4722; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174722 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Climate change, environmental degradation, and limited resources are motivations for sustainable forest management. Forests, the most abundant renewable resource on earth, used to make a wide variety of forest-based products for human consumption. To provide a scientific measure of a product’s sustainability and [...] Read more.
Climate change, environmental degradation, and limited resources are motivations for sustainable forest management. Forests, the most abundant renewable resource on earth, used to make a wide variety of forest-based products for human consumption. To provide a scientific measure of a product’s sustainability and environmental performance, the life cycle assessment (LCA) method is used. This article provides a comprehensive review of environmental performances of forest-based products including traditional building products, emerging (mass-timber) building products and nanomaterials using attributional LCA. Across the supply chain, the product manufacturing life-cycle stage tends to have the largest environmental impacts. However, forest management activities and logistics tend to have the greatest economic impact. In addition, environmental trade-offs exist when regulating emissions as indicated by the latest traditional wood building product LCAs. Interpretation of these LCA results can guide new product development using biomaterials, future (mass) building systems and policy-making on mitigating climate change. Key challenges include handling of uncertainties in the supply chain and complex interactions of environment, material conversion, resource use for product production and quantifying the emissions released. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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Open AccessReview
Sustainable Forest Management for Nontimber Products
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2670; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092670 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Many of the plants and fungi that are harvested for nontimber products (e.g., foods, medicines, crafts) are critical to healthy forest ecosystems. These products also are essential to rural societies, contributing to the material and nonmaterial composition of communities and cultures. Product sales [...] Read more.
Many of the plants and fungi that are harvested for nontimber products (e.g., foods, medicines, crafts) are critical to healthy forest ecosystems. These products also are essential to rural societies, contributing to the material and nonmaterial composition of communities and cultures. Product sales make important contributions at all economic scales, from household to national economies. Nontimber forest products (NTFPs) have been harvested for generations, sometimes centuries, yet they are seldom integrated into forest management. Few methods exist for inventory and assessment, and there is little evidence that harvests are sustainable. This article examines three elements of sustainable forest management for nontimber products: sociocultural, economic, and ecological, and elaborates with detailed examples of edible and medicinal species from United States (U.S.) forests. We synthesize the state of knowledge and emerging issues, and identify research priorities that are needed to advance sustainable management of NTFPs in the United States. Despite their social, economic, and ecological values, many of these species and resources are threatened by the overuse and lack of management and market integration. Sustainable management for nontimber products is attainable, but much research and development is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of these resources and their cultural values, and to realize their economic potentials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Forest Management)
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