AskDefine | Define forestry

Dictionary Definition

forestry n : the science of planting and caring for forests and the management of growing timber

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The science of planting and growing trees in forests.
  2. The art and practice of planting and growing trees in forests.
  3. The art and practice of cultivating, exploiting and renewing forests for commercial purposes.
  4. The science of cultivating, exploiting and renewing forests for commercial purposes.
  5. Commercial tree farming.


science of planting and growing trees
art and practice of planting and growing trees
art of cultivating, exploiting and renewing forests for commercial purposes
science of cultivating, exploiting and renewing forests for commercial purposes
tree farming

Extensive Definition

Forestry , science, and practice of studying and managing forests and tree plantations, and related natural resources. Silviculture, a related science, involves the growing and tending of trees and forests. Modern forestry generally concerns itself with: assisting forests to provide timber as raw material for wood products; wildlife habitat; natural water quality regulation; recreation; landscape and community protection; employment; aesthetically appealing landscapes; biodiversity management; watershed management; and a 'sink' for atmospheric carbon dioxide. A practitioner of forestry is known as a forester.
Forest ecosystems have come to be seen as one of the most important components of the biosphere, and forestry has emerged as a vital field of science, applied art, and technology.


Foresters may be employed by industry, government agencies, conservation groups, urban parks boards, citizens' associations, or private landowners. Industrial foresters are predominantly involved in planning the timber harvests and forest regeneration. Other foresters have the specific jobs which include a broad array of responsibilities. For example, urban foresters work within city environments to enhance urban trees with their unique needs. Some foresters work in tree nurseries growing seedlings for regeneration projects. Others are involved with tree genetics or developing new building systems as forest engineers. The profession has expanded to include a wide diversity of jobs, typically requiring a college bachelor's degree up to the PhD level for highly specialized areas of work.
Traditionally, professional foresters develop and implement "forest management plans". These plans rely on tree inventories showing an area's topographical features as well as its distribution of trees (by species) and other plant cover. They also include roads, culverts, proximity to human habitation, hydrological conditions, and soil reports ecological sensitive areas. Finally, forest management plans include the projected use of the land and a timetable for that use.
Plans for harvest and subsequent site treatment are influenced by the objectives of the land's owner or leaseholder (for instance, a timber company that holds cutting rights to a given tract of land, or the government in the case of state-owned forests). There is an increasing trend to consider the needs of other stakeholders (e.g., nearby communities or neighborhoods, or rural residents living within or adjacent to the forest tract). Plans are developed with the prevailing forest harvest laws and regulations in mind. They ultimately result in a prescription for the harvest of trees, and indicate whether road building or other forest engineering operations are required.
Traditional forest management plans are chiefly aimed at providing logs as raw material for timber, veneer, plywood, paper, wood fuel or other industries. Hence, considerations of product quality and quantity, employment, and profit have been of central, though not always exclusive, importance.
Foresters also frequently develop post-harvest site plans. These may call for reforestation (tree planting by species), weed control, fertilization, or the spacing of young trees (thinning of trees that are crowding one another).
While other duties of foresters may include preventing and combatting insect infestation, disease, forest and grassland fires, there is an increasing movement towards allowing these natural aspects of forest ecosystems to run their course, where possible, usually excepting epidemics or risk of life or property. Foresters are specialists in measuring and modelling the growth of forests (forest mensuration). Increasingly, foresters may be involved in wildlife conservation planning and watershed protection.


The use and management of forest resources has a long history in China, dating from the Han Dynasty and taking place under the landowning gentry. It was also later written of by the Ming Dynasty Chinese scholar Xu Guangqi (1562-1633). In the Western world, formal forestry practices developed during the Middle Ages, when land was largely under the control of kings and barons. Control of the land included hunting rights, and though peasants in many places were permitted to gather firewood and building timber and to graze animals, hunting rights were retained by the members of the nobility. Systematic management of forests for a sustainable yield of timber is said to have begun in about in the 16th century in both the German states and Japan Typically, a forest was divided into specific sections and mapped; the harvest of timber was planned with an eye to regeneration.
The practice of establishing tree plantations was promoted by John Evelyn; it had already acquired some popularity in the British Isles. Schools of forestry were established after 1825; most of these schools were in Germany and France. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, forest preservation programs were established in the United States, Europe, and British India. Many foresters were either from continental Europe (like Sir Dietrich Brandis), or educated there (like Gifford Pinchot).
The enactment and evolution of forestry laws and binding regulations occurred in most Western nations in the 20th century in response to growing conservation concerns and the increasing technological capacity of logging companies.
Tropical forestry is a separate branch of forestry which deals mainly with equatorial forests that yield woods such as teak and mahogany. Sir Dietrich Brandis is considered the father of tropical forestry.


Today a strong body of research exists regarding the management of forest ecosystems, selection of species and varieties, and tree breeding. Forestry also includes the development of better methods for the planting, protecting, thinning, controlled burning, felling, extracting, and processing of timber. One of the applications of modern forestry is reforestation, in which trees are planted and tended in a given area.
In many regions the forest industry is of major ecological, economic, and social importance. Third-party certification systems that provide independent verification of sound forest stewardship and sustainable forestry have become commonplace in many areas since the 1990s. These certification systems were developed as a response to criticism of some forestry practices, particularly deforestation in less developed regions along with concerns over resource management in the developed world. Some certification systems are criticised for primarily acting as marketing tools and lacking in their claimed independence.
In topographically severe forested terrain, proper forestry is important for the prevention or minimization of serious soil erosion or even landsliding. In areas with a high potential for landsliding, good forestry can act to prevent property damage or loss, human injury, or loss of life.
Public perception of forest management has become controversial, with growing public concern over perceived mismanagement of the forest and increasing demands that forest land be managed for uses other than pure timber production, for example, indigenous rights, recreation, watershed protection and preservation of wilderness and wildlife habitat. Sharp disagreements over the role of forest fires, logging, motorized recreation and others drives debate while the public demand for wood products continues to increase.


The first dedicated forestry school was established by Georg Hartig at Dillenburg in Germany in 1787, though forestry had been taught much earlier in central Europe. The first in North America was established near Asheville, North Carolina, by George Vanderbilt after he saw the devastation logging had caused in the area. The grounds of his Biltmore Estate are almost entirely managed forest, which has grown from bare ground to mature trees since 1895. Another early school was the New York State College of Forestry at Cornell established in 1898. Early North American foresters went to Germany from the nineteenth century to study forestry. Some early German foresters also emigrated to North America.
In South America the first two forestry schools were established in Brazil, specifically in Viçosa, Minas Gerais, and in Curitiba, Paraná.
Today, an acceptably trained forester must be educated in general biology, botany, genetics, soil science, climatology, hydrology, economics and forest management. Education in the basics of sociology and political science is often considered an advantage.
An interesting scope of work opens up for foresters interested in international politics. Organizations such as the Forest Policy Education Network (FPEN) are dedicated to facilitate the way into forest politics and to exchange information on the subject.
In India the Forestry Education is imparted in the Agricultural Universities and In Forest Research Institute (Deemed University), Dehradun.Dr.Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan (HP) is dedicated for imparting the Forestry education and is the only University of its kind in Asia. Four year Degree programme is conducted in these universities at Undergraduate level. Post Graduation and Doctorate degree facility is also available in these universities
Tropic Ventures Rainforest Enrichment and Sustainable Forestry Project is registered under the Auxiliary Forest Program of Puerto Rico, and is a demonstration project for students and foresters interested in the sustainable management and preservation of tropical rainforest land.


  • Charles H. Stoddard Essentials of Forestry. New York: Ronald Press, 1978.
  • G. Tyler Miller. Resource Conservation and Management. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 1990.
  • Chris Maser. Sustainable Forestry: Philosophy, Science, and Economics. DelRay Beach: St. Lucie Press, 1994.
  • Hammish Kimmins. Balancing Act: Environmental Issues in Forestry. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992.
  • Hart, C. 1994. Practical Forestry for the Agent and Surveyor. Stroud. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-86299-962-6
  • Herb Hammond. Seeing the Forest Among the Trees. Winlaw/Vancouver: Polestar Press, 1991.
  • Hibberd, B.G. (Ed). 1991. Forestry Practice. Forestry Commission Handbook 6. London. HMSO. ISBN 0-11-710281-4
  • "Forestry" in the Encyclopaedia Brtitannica 16th edition. New York: E.B., 1990.
forestry in Bulgarian: горско стопанство (икономика)
forestry in Czech: Lesnictví
forestry in Danish: Skovbrug
forestry in German: Forstwirtschaft
forestry in Estonian: Metsandus
forestry in Spanish: Ingeniería de montes
forestry in French: Foresterie
forestry in Korean: 임업
forestry in Croatian: Šumarstvo
forestry in Indonesian: Kehutanan
forestry in Italian: Silvicoltura
forestry in Hebrew: יערנות
forestry in Dutch: Bosbouw
forestry in Japanese: 林業
forestry in Norwegian: Skogbruk
forestry in Norwegian Nynorsk: Skogbruk
forestry in Polish: Leśnictwo (nauka)
forestry in Portuguese: Engenharia florestal
forestry in Romanian: Silvicultură
forestry in Russian: Лесоводство
forestry in Simple English: Forestry
forestry in Serbo-Croatian: Šumarstvo
forestry in Finnish: Metsätalous
forestry in Swedish: Skogsbruk
forestry in Telugu: వన్య శాస్త్రము
forestry in Thai: การป่าไม้
forestry in Vietnamese: Lâm nghiệp
forestry in Turkish: silvikültür
forestry in Chinese: 林业

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Christmas tree farming, afforestation, arboretum, arboriculture, boondocks, bush, bushveld, chase, climax forest, cloud forest, dendrology, forest, forest land, forest management, forest preserve, forestation, fringing forest, gallery forest, greenwood, hanger, index forest, jungle, jungles, logging, lumbering, national forest, palmetto barrens, park, park forest, pine barrens, primeval forest, protection forest, rain forest, reforestation, scrub, scrubland, selection forest, shrubland, silviculture, sprout forest, stand of timber, state forest, timber, timberland, tree farming, tree veld, virgin forest, wildwood, wood, woodcraft, woodland, woods
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