Over the past decades, there has been a growing controversy between foresters and environmentalists / conservationists. Forestry has been criticised as harmful to the environment, and against principles of conservation. Sometimes the criticisms have been well founded, but at other times they have not.
Forestry as a profession has suffered, not helped by the fact that many foresters would rather talk to trees than to people! So when it came to defending their profession, the rather more voluble environmental lobbyists tended to win the arguments. However, properly practised, forestry is environmentally friendly, and is based on principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Part of the problem has been due to misunderstandings of terminology. Different definitions have abounded, and discussions have been about different things. Like many world issues, they have not be satisfactorily resolved as a result.
As I became involved in teaching courses concerned with tropical forestry, I realised that there was a need to clarify concepts before entering into discussions in any depth. I therefore started to list some common misconceptions, and provide concise answers. The end result was a set of questions and answers on different topics which I called “Forest mythconceptions”. If you’re learning about forestry and the environment, they might help you.