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The Need for Forest Stewardship

 
 
  • A legacy of resource exploitation has left many forests degraded and lacking in overall diversity.
  • Present and future forest threats, whether related to pollution, urbanization, climate change, invasive exotic plants, insects, or disease, are typically un-natural and are likely to be more severe than many stresses of the past.
  • Positive and proactive forestry can improve the condition of our forests, making them more resistant to these stresses, and enhance their ability to satisfy the needs of society for future generations.

Though they have proven remarkably resilient, our current forests still bear the scars of past mistakes. The once dominant American chestnut has been eliminated from the forest overstory by a non-native blight; many soils have been eroded and depleted from land clearing and farming on our steep mountain slopes; and large-scale clear-cutting and high-grading have produced forests that lack much of their original value and diversity.

The future of our forests is not guaranteed. Unregulated development, forest fragmentation, air-pollution, acid rain, global warming, and the introduction of invasive-exotic pests will continue to pose serious threats. Forest Stewards promotes a proactive approach to dealing with these threats. In many cases we need to treat our forests to speed the restoration from past abuses, and to make our woods more resistant and resilient to the new and ever-changing threats they will face.

 



2008-2015 Forest Stewards

Western Carolina University, Dept. Geosciences and Natural Resources, Stillwell Bldg. Rm. 331, Cullowhee, NC 28723
Office: 828-227-3388
Peter Bates: 828-227-3914 - bates@email.wcu.edu