Seeing the Forest for the Trees: A Review-Based Framework for Better Harmonization of Timber Production, Biodiversity, and Recreation in Boreal Urban Forests
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Forested lands serve multiple needs, and the priorities that go into balancing the competing demands can vary over time. In addition to being the source of timber and other natural resources, forested lands provide a number of other services such as biodiversity conservation and opportunities for outdoor recreation. While allocations that enhance conservation and recreation can involve expenses and lost revenue, mechanisms exist to provide landowners with incentives to make such contributions. Here, we review the literature and present a conceptual framework that can help landowners envision possible contributions towards bolstering outdoor recreation opportunities on their lands. The framework classifies forests within a simple conceptual space defined by two axes: (1) the spectrum of intensity of recreational use, and (2) the level of economic contribution required by landowners to meet recreational demands of visitors to their lands. The resulting matrix consists of four broad categories that can be used in forest management zoning as seen from an outdoor recreation perspective: general and special considerations for recreational opportunities and biodiversity, wilderness and nature reserves, and service areas. These categories have di erent tolerances for active silviculture and require shifting harvest practices spatially within the forest property. While timber revenues may decrease with shifting allocations, other sources of revenue may open up. With an increasingly urban population and rising demands for natural resources, it is prudent for landowners and land use planners to consider zoning their properties to better handle potential conflicts. The framework presented here provides a simple, structured approach to visualize future challenges and opportunities.