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Selected Publication:

Farrel E.P., Führer E., Ryan D., Andersson F., Hüttl R., Piussi P..
(2000): European forest ecosystems: building the future on the legacy of the past
FOREST ECOL MANAG, 132, 5-20; ISSN 0378-1127

The viability of the many civilisations of Europe has depended, to a very large extent, on an adequate supply of wood. In the Ancient World, this supply was secured through the exploitation of forest reserves, the conquest of new territories and, when these opportunities no longer presented themselves, through the conservation of diminishing resources. Ultimately, civilisations collapsed because of the shortage of wood. Although some silvicultural techniques were known in the pre-Christian era, the scientific management of forests was not widely practised until the late 18th century. It is argued that the controlled exploitation of 'nature', on sustained yield principles, only became possible when men came to view the forest, not as a nuisance, an Arcadia or a pagan horror, but as a centre of wood production, a biological factory. The emergence of scientific forestry, however, did not put an end to the exploitation of forest resources. Unregulated felling and traditional practices such as litter raking exerted an insidious, negative influence on the fertility of the soil. The impact of human exploitation has often been underestimated by scientists, in recent decades, in particular, in the context of forest decline. While sustainable management, seen as sustained yield of wood supply, has been practised in forestry for centuries modern ideas of sustainability are broader in scope, embracing all the goods and services of the forest. Increasingly, forests are being managed as multifunctional ecosystems, often for amenity purposes. Forest ecosystem research, which developed from a range of traditional, highly focused disciplines, requires, if it is to make a meaningful contribution to forest management, long-term interdisciplinary studies. It provides the basis for ecologically intelligent management decisions and as such, is central to the development of sustainable forestry management. Central to the successful implementation of research findings is their efficient transfer from the researcher to the manager. If the research community identifies such an interchange as an important part of their duties, it will be a decisive step towards the better use of forests in Europe. It is only by deepening our knowledge of the past, accepting the challenge of the present and acknowledging that, as researchers, we have also a responsibility to communicate with users, that we can foster the growth in wisdom which is fundamental to the wise use of Europe's forests in the next millennium. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Führer Erwin
BOKU Gendermonitor:

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
forest history
sustainable forest management
forest ecosystem research
technology transfer

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