Sustainable forestry involves providing a range of goods and services from forest resources for both present and future generations while balancing ecological and community needs. Forest goods and services include but are not limited to: forest products, fish and wildlife habitat, jobs, renewable energy, clean water, recreation opportunities, and carbon sequestration. Different stakeholders and interest groups have varying expectations regarding distribution of ecological and economic benefits from resource management activities, making sustainable forestry a particular challenge.
Sustainable forestry involves identifying and addressing tradeoffs that occur when managing for and sustaining a variety of resources in the same landscape. These tradeoffs can be positive or negative for other affected resources. Most of the negative tradeoffs can be avoided with good management, and some of the negative impacts can be compensated for in other areas. It is difficult to manage for all resources in one area. Some landscapes are better at producing or providing for specific resources than other areas are. Maximizing production of any one resource will usually result in a decrease in the other resources provided.
To sustain a variety of forest resources, such as salmon and deer, the Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (TLMP) has a conservation plan, and standards and guidelines for forest management activities on the forest. To complement TLMP, The Nature Conservancy and Audubon Alaska completed an Ecoregional Assessment and developed a Conservation Design to assist with sustainable forestry in Southeast Alaska. The Staney Creek Community Forest Report outlines how the collaborative group addressed sustainable forestry on Prince of Wales Island. Some forests in other regions of the country are certified “sustainable” through forest certification programs.