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Site Classification Systems Could Link Social and Ecological Management Constraints

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Many landownerships face a diverse set of complex management objectives constrained by both ecological and social factors but lack an integrated conceptual organizational framework to efficiently guide long-term management planning. We suggest that three tools independently developed in recent decades—conservation filters, ecological classification systems, and geographic information systems—can be efficiently combined to facilitate diverse management objectives. Both research and management could benefit from combining these tools to develop iteratively refined site classification systems (SCS), the structures of which are based on ecological and social data and are constrained by periodically revised management objectives. The proposed SCS framework builds on existing tools but additionally directly incorporates human dimensions. By enabling database searches targeted to relevant management objectives, the use of broad, evolving, and site-specific SCS could facilitate addressing various and diverse management objectives and provide flexibility to address emerging issues such as forest health and bioenergy.

Keywords: ECS; conservation biology; filters; forest planning; vegetation classification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • 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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