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Forests should be managed in an ecologically sustainable perspective, which entails management of forest eco-systems, wood production as well as non-timber values. There is need of maintaining integrity of the eco-system through establishment of wide range and even distribution of forest structures, species composition as well as biological diversity (Swanson and Franklin, 1992).
Ecologically sustainable forestry incorporates conservation of biological diversity. The main problem in creating sustainable forestry is by identifying the main channels to use in allocating the scarce resources in a desirable way. Market eco-systems have basically focused on the means of allocating natural raw materials with a view of maximizing the monetary value attached to it (Abensperg-Traun et al., 1997, pp. 637-641).
Definition of sustainability can be approached from various perspectives and approaches, which may involve thermodynamic, capital-based and human approaches. Thermodynamic approach views sustainability as development confined within the limits of earth’s carrying capacity (Figge and Hahn, 2004). In this case, the quality of life is improved within the confines of the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems.
In capital-based approach, the environment is essentially form of capital asset, which can be increased through conservation efforts and at the same time, decreased through consumption. Then finally human approach involves the process of considering sustainability as vital channel capable of improving people’s lives when used appropriately (Hopwood, 2005).
Ecologically Sustainable Forestry
Sustainability can basically be defined in view of a country’s level of responsible productivity and manufacturing processes. Organization within various countries considers various strategic principles towards sustainable development while at the same time capitalizing on lucrative processes capable of contributing positively towards more sustainable environment and society (Sharma and Vredenbrug, 1998).
Main purposes of sustaining forests are to avoid the risks associated with destruction and at the same time, pursue long-term benefits associated with the world economy. Market dynamics cannot be easily used in measuring environmental contributions towards quality livelihood. In such a case, most countries use GDP to measure quality of living standards within their respective boundaries.
However, there is a high possibility that such parameters ensure loss of value in the process of economic development. This calls for the incorporation of all ecological dimensions in any initiative of sustainable development (Ekins, 2005; Abensperg-Traun et al., 1997, pp. 637-641).
Forest sustainability should incorporate a high level of responsibility in the process of utilizing forest resources. Such explanation incorporates for the needs of the dimensions within the ecological integration and interaction. This brings about the ability to meet various population needs and requirements which could otherwise be met through trade and economic growth(Arrow, 1995, pp. 520-521).
Theories of sustainability
Theories of sustainability tend to prioritize and incorporate social responses to environmental and cultural problems. This can be explained in a manner such that each model explains a specific aspect of environment.
For instance, an economic model focuses on sustenance of natural as well as financial capital, ecological model focuses on biological diversity as well as ecological integrity, and political model focuses on social systems dealing with human behaviour. Finally, the religious aspect brings in the symbolic and motivational resources capable of instituting cultural change.
In a wider perspective sustainability explains the intimate and complex relationship of human and eco-systems. The various components of sustainability should be integrated to address various global issues within the domain of maintaining social justice, moral vision and durability (Commonwealth of Australia, 1998).
Economic models seek to tackle sustainability based on capital investments. This is where returns are used on natural resources helping in the creation of new and valuable opportunities. The kind of spending done on the social sector tends to compete with most of the investments geared towards sustainability.
Creation of opportunities with future development in mind creates options for the current poor since greater development is ensured (Strochinskii et al., 2001, pp. 11-19). Ecological models, on the other hand, propose sustainability of biological diversity and ecological integrity whereby the key issue is focusing directly on health status of living world. However, political models on sustainability propose sustenance based on human dignity.
The model tends to be concerned with the connection between local, global environmental problems and human dignity. The main agenda involves aspects on environmental justice and sustainable environmental schemes, which focuses on sustenance of cultural conditions required for the realization of ecological balance. There are also religious views which have played important role in motivating sustainable change (Stoyko, 1998).
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Problems and Management strategies
Management strategy in maintaining the forests can be based on property rights. There are both public and private management systems in which case forests tend to be overexploited (Elkington, 1994). Private ownership tends to follow the natural law and instrumental argument.
Conventional economists propagate the fact private property rights lead to efficient allocation of resources, which is also only possible for eco-system structure. Natural forests are considered shared inheritance since they are not created out of anybody’s labour efforts (Wagner et al., 2001).
The problem on sustenance of these forests can be solved based on the principle of common asset trust. This differentiates private from public ownership by creating a third sector representation, which is neither private nor public.
The rights of the future generations can be protected by ensuring that the harvest of renewable resources does not exceed the rate of regeneration (Daly, 2007). The aspect of the forests being owned by all could help in building much responsibility since the costs and benefits obtained from harvesting of forest resources would be shared by owners.
The problem of sustainable management of forests is considered complex since it incorporates natural systems, social systems as well as human values (Berkes, 2004). Variety of vital goods can be obtained from the forests. These resources ranges from timber, genetic resources, water to benefits on climatic regulation all of which are essential for human survival.
Hence mismanagement of forest as a resource could lead to irreversible impacts. This calls for invention of new methods through which environmental problems can be managed as well as new approaches appropriate for identification of various impacts of human activity on environmental problems.
A number of factors can be considered towards obtaining acceptable solutions since sustainable forest management, as well as other environmental problems, are considered multi-faceted.
There is need for inter-institutional partnership involving professional, community stakeholders, the government, business sector amongst other sectors. In addition, improved communication skills in the research field amongst the scientists are necessary (Stuart and Edwards, 2006, pp. 11-19).
Focusing on limited conservation strategies may actually not ensure retaining of all other tree species. In such a case, setting aside of biodiversity priorities reserves in conjunction with array of management strategies, which ensures maintenance of elements of original stand structure (Abensperg-Traun et al., 1997, pp. 637-641).
According to Australian federal government conservation of some tree species in Australian mountain ash forest requires retention of trees on logged sites to maintain the populations.
Multi-faceted management approaches tend to be efficient since the failure of one strategy will guarantee protection by other elementary sources of forest biodiversity strategies. These strategies include establishment of wild-life corridors and tree retention projects throughout logged areas (Figge, 2005).
The various human economic activities have extensive impact on the environment. Utilization of natural resources such as forests presents a challenge since their depletion at times lead to adverse effects on the environment and ultimately to climatic change. This may as well lead to economic activities having direct influence on the environment through pollution-related effects.
However, technological aspects can be utilized for the purposes of reinforcing sustenance level of non-renewable resources, which consequently minimise the environmental costs of economic activities. The processes of conservation could further be initiated to cater for the substitution of non-renewable with renewable resources(Hart and Milstein, 2003).
Socially sustainable forest lands consider responsible action towards surrounding environment. Such activities require transparent actions in decision making coupled with efficient corporate governance, which assists in creating some fairness in working conditions and at the same time, ensure safety of biodiversity.
There’s need for individuals and business organizations to consider environmental conservation through responsible use of resources. There is need to encourage recycling and at the same time, maintain the rich biodiversity. Strict sustainability principles and policies are required within the manufacturing sector since most of forest oriented industries are part of the sector.
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