Canadian Forest Service Publications

Should sustained yield be part of sustainable forest management? 2005. Luckert, M.K.; Williamson, T.B. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35(2): 356-364.

Year: 2005

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26944

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)


This paper considers the question of whether sustainable forest management (SFM) should continue to incorporate sustained yield (SY) requirements, as it currently does in many jurisdictions. We evaluate the extent to which SY and SFM are consistent with notions of weak and (or) strong sustainability. Strong sustainability implies placing constraints on the reduction of stocks of natural capital to prevent irreversibility and (or) protect flows of services that have public good characteristics. In contrast, weak sustainability may allow market forces to draw down stocks of natural capital so long as levels of total capital (including human-made and natural capital) are maintained. We argue that with SY policies, we have probably chosen to attach strong sustainability policies to the only forest resource that does not need such protection (i.e., timber), while we have excluded other resources that could well need such protection (e.g., biodiversity) for pursuing SFM. Thus, the concept of allowable annual cuts could be dropped from SFM to be replaced by safe minimum standards on components of forest capital that are subject to irreversibility and (or) that have public good features. In other words, if we truly wish to pursue SFM, it may be necessary to leave SY behind.

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