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A Review of the Biological, Social, and Regulatory Constraints to Intensive Plantation Culture

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Substantial progress continues to be made in a variety of biological fields toward increasing plantation productivity. Productivity in a wide variety of forest ecosystems is controlled by environmental variables, cultural treatments, the genotypes deployed, and the interactions that may exist among these various factors. Effective and efficient increases in productivity require a thorough understanding of these complex interactions. A thorough understanding of the biological limits to productivity and the development of effective genetic resources and cultural regimes to overcome some of these limitations is only one facet that forest managers must currently address. New management strategies for future plantations inherently carry new challenges and limitations that must prove to be substantially more profitable and ecologically sound than current technologies. To operate in the social context we currently face, industrial forest lands will continue to represent a range of management intensities with differing primary management objectives. On many of our most intensively managed forest lands, clonal plantation forestry is becoming the future. The next step in this progression may be the use of genetically modified trees. The form that intensive forest management will take in the future in the United States is subject to factors beyond the development of improved cultural regimes or new genotypes that may be deployed. Government restrictions may greatly impede or halt new technologies. Beyond controls imposed by formal regulations, negative public sentiment has been seen in the form of boycotts of retail markets thus pressuring the industry to use more costly management strategies. Research that is not directly related to stand productivity but rather possible impacts of increasing stand productivity to the environment and other ecological processes will draw even greater attention. South. J. Appl. For. 29(2):105–109.

Keywords: Biological limitations; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest productivity; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; intensive plantation management; landscape management; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Forest Science and Technology, MeadWestvaco Wickliffe KY 42087 Phone: (270) 335-6274;, Fax: (270) 335-6231, Email: 2: Forest Science and Technology, MeadWestvaco Summerville SC 29494

Publication date: May 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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