Biological Diversity in Forest Ecosystems


SAF recognizes that biologically diverse forest ecosystems are resilient and therefore better positioned to withstand the effects of climate change, wildfire, pests, pathogens, invasive species and the growing human pressures/societal needs. Active forest management is a pivotal tool to promoting and ensuring that America’s forests (both public and private) can continue to support a wide-range of native species and their habitats, as well as a diversity of land-uses and landowner objectives.


Conserving and enhancing biological diversity through responsible, science-based, holistic and adaptive forest management practices is a core principle of sustainability. This position statement outlines factors that need to be considered when planning forest management activities.


The Society of American Foresters (SAF) values biological diversity and supports forest management practices that consider biological diversity together with other factors, such as the characteristics of the ecosystem and landowner objectives. SAF believes that active silviculture, using best management practices, can play an important role in restoring and sustaining native species and their habitats, and in maintaining the compositional, functional, and structural diversity of forests at various spatial and temporal scales. Managing for biological diversity (also referred to as “biodiversity”) reflects important choices. Among these are the degree of biodiversity sought, the kind of (genetic, species, and ecosystem) biodiversity, the spatial and temporal scales to be considered, and the roles and objectives of different landowners involved in managing biodiversity.

Approved: April 2019

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