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Book: The Contribution of Soil Science to the Development of and Implementation of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management
Published by: Soil Science Society of America




  1.  p. i-xv
    SSSA Special Publication 53.
    The Contribution of Soil Science to the Development of and Implementation of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management

    Eric A. Davidson (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-948-0

    unlockOPEN ACCESS

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Front Matter


Expanding human population and resource consumption bring mounting pressures on the world's forests to produce fuel, timber, pulpwood, clean and abundant water, wildlife, recreation, and the many values of wilderness. Meeting such demands requires close attention to the elements supporting the health and function of forest ecosystems. Soil, in its interplay of physical, chemical, and biological properties and processes, is a singularly important element. Therefore, soil science is central to sustainable forest management.

Soil is a strong candidate for providing key criteria and indicators of sustainable forestry. Forest soil scientists of five generations in North America-and longer in Europe-have studied soils as natural bodies in landscapes and as components of systems varying from lands managed extensively as in the Pacific Northwest, to those managed with near-agricultural intensity, as in pine, hybrid poplar, and eucalyptus plantations throughout the world. Cumulative findings from this body of work may provide a basis for defining criteria and indicators useful for evaluating forest soils. Authors of chapters in this volume bring broad backgrounds and understandings of basic soil properties and processes that sustain forest productivity. These chapters represent the contributions of many of the world's leading forest soil researchers to the ongoing quest of all members of the Soil Science Society of America to develop sustainable systems of land uses and management.

Gary W. Petersen

SSSA President


As we constantly refine our notions of best management practices in forestry, strive to conserve forest ecosystem functions, and search for definitions of sustainable development of forest resources, the status of forest soils and the services that they provide must be rigorously evaluated. Certain attributes of forest soils, such as good infiltration, ample soil organic matter, lack of compaction, and occurrence of faunal activity, are well recognized as good general indicators of a healthy soil resource. But how much of a good thing is enough? Can we move beyond these qualitative indicators of soil health or degradation, and can we develop quantitative indicators of well defined criteria of the status of forest soils throughout the world under the variety of circumstances of climate, vegetation, and land use history?

Several international diplomatic initiatives are underway to define criteria and indicators (C&I) of forests, including soils, that are likely to form the basis of international agreements on the management, conservation, and sustainable development of forests. If science is to lead policy, the time is ripe for forest soil scientists to examine the proposed C&I and to establish a sound scientific basis for their selection and implementation.

To this end, the Soil Science Society of America sponsored a symposium at its annual meetings in St. Louis, MO, in October 1995, where a group of forest soil scientists examined proposed C&I to offer their opinions as to whether the policy negotiations were on the right track and to offer suggestions for improvements where appropriate. These chapters have since been expanded and additional authors have contributed, resulting in the critical analysis presented in this volume.

The chapters in this volume sample only a modest fraction of the diversity of soils, environmental conditions, and socio-economic situations in the world's forests to which the proposed C&I processes will be applied. Several approaches are critically analyzed for areas as diverse as Indonesia, Russia, western Europe, Canada, and the southeastern and western USA. A consensus emerges that considerable scientific basis exists upon which the C&I approach might be based, although the development and effective implementation of C&I will require considerable investment of resources. Much can be learned from the effort, as measuring changes in soil properties has the potential to tell us a great deal about long-term sustainability of forest management practices and uses. There is always need for more research, and establishment of effective C&I of forest soils will certainly require much more effort on the part of researchers and managers. The objective of this volume is to lay out the scientific basis as it now stands, so that the expectations of policies based on implementation of C&I will be realistic in the short term, and so that research needs for further improvement can be identified for the long term.

Eric A. Davidson, editor

The Woods Hole Research Center


Mary Beth Adams, Project Leader and Soil Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, P O. Box 404, Parsons, WV 26287

James R. Boyle, Professor of Forestry and Soil Ecology, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331–5703

James A. Burger, Professor of Forest Soil Science, Department of Forestry, 228 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 24061–0324

Eric A. Davidson, Associate Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center, P.O. Box 296, Woods Hole, MA, 02543

Pieter H.B. De Visser, Ecologist, Department of Animal Sciences, Agricultural University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, the Netherlands

Wim De Vries, Soil Chemist, SC-DLO Winand Staring Centre, Marijkeweg 11, P.O. Box 125, 6700 AC Wageningen, the Netherlands

Vladimir N. Gorbachev, Professor of Soil Science, Krasnoyarsk State Agricultural University, P.O. Box 8750, Axademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk, 660036, Russia

Kurniatun Hairiah, Lecturer in the Soil Science Department, University of Brawijaya, Jl. Veteran, Malang 65145, Indonesia

Daniel L. Kelting, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Forestry, 228 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 24061–0324

Andrei P. Laletin, Professor of Biological Science, Institute of Forest, Siberian Branchof the Russian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 26779, Axademgoradok, Krasnoyarsk, 660036, Russia

Ian K. Morrison, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 490, Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada P6A 5M7

Daniel Murdiyarso, Program Head, BIOTROP/GCTE Impacts Centre for Southeast Asia, Jl. Raya Tajur Km 6, P.O. Box 116, Bogor, Indonesia

Meine van Noordwijk, Principal Soil Ecologist, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, P.O. Box 161, Bogor 16001, Indonesia

Robert F. Powers, Science Team Leader, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, 2400 Washington Avenue, Redding, CA 96001

R.J. Raison, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, P.O. Box E4008, Kingston, ACT 2604, Australia

Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Senior Associate, The Woods Hole Research Center, P.O. Box 296, Woods Hole, MA, 02543

C.T. Smith, Project Leader, New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd., Private Bag 3020, Rotorua, New Zealand

Allan E. Tiarks, Supervisory Soil Scientist, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 2500 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA, 71360

Nico van Breemen, Professor of Soil Formation and Ecopedology, Laboratory of Soil Science and Geology, Wageningen Agricultural University, P.O. Box 37, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands

Paul L. Woomer, Visiting Lecturer, Department of Soil Science, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenya



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