The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations expects global demand for wood to grow by 40% over the next 15 years. Meanwhile, land is increasingly scarce. Forest managers use herbicides to temporarily control competing plants in forested areas to boost wood output, without fully understanding effects on plants and animals. Because of this, forest managers cannot accurately assess the tradeoffs between wood production and biodiversity conservation.
Together with the forest industry, government, and academic partners, the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) supported environmental experiments to determine the effects of herbicides used in intensive forest management on biodiversity.
Herbicide use is often a hotly contested political issue, and policymakers are evaluating regulations for efficacy in conserving forest ecosystems. The results from this study will be used to inform that discussion over the coming months. These studies strongly suggest that relatively small adjustments in herbicide use can result in environmental benefits without undue limitations on production, presenting opportunities to strike a balance between forest production and the health of the ecosystem.
Biodiversity has been linked to the health and sustainability of ecosystems. As the forestry sector strives to meet consumer demand for wood and sustainability in forest management, it is of increasing importance to understand potential trade-offs between wood production and biodiversity.
—Dr. Jake Verschuyl, NCASI Director of Forestry Research, Western US and British Columbia
Did you know?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations expects global demand for wood to grow by 40% over the next 15 years.
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI)