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Old-Growth: What Is It?

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Old-growth has been used and understood by foresters and ecologists for a long time. The term implies that the organism must be old, becoming overmature, senescent, slow growing, and declining in vigor. But the precise characteristics and attributes of the term are not identified. In recent years, the term has been used in diverse contexts and often in a value-laden manner. This causes confusion regarding exactly what is meant by old-growth and clouds debates about the management and conservation of the forests to which the term refers. Foresters and ecologists should consider taking the lead in defining the term and monitoring its use.

Keywords: communication; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; policy

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Professor Emeritus University of California–Berkeley 151 Hilgard Hall 3110 Berkeley CA 94720, Email: helms@nature.berkeley.edu

Publication date: April 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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