I would like to propose a small exercise before you start reading this little reflection on forest management! First, take a look around you: what, in your current environment is made of wood? The table? The chair? Maybe the door? the floor? The roof structure? Do you have a pencil and a paper sheet close by? Now search in your memories: how many nice moments you lived close to a tree? A nice holiday or picnic? Or trying to find a fresh shadow in a nice and warm summer afternoon? Or on that moment when you needed relaxing and only the sound of leafs swaying in the wind could help you?
These are some visible or memorable services that forest can offer to us, but there are much more and different services that now might be not visible for you. Keeping water source clean, helping to climate balance, giving fruits, oils, fibers, and much more for us and for a lot of different animals that are part of this world. I am from South America, and the story that was taught at my school was about different groups of people, organized in teams of big boats searching for places where they could find new resources for their needs at that time. And guess what? All these big boats that crossed the oceans were, at that time, also made of wood! I am from Brazil and the name of my country is inspired on the first, and one of the most important, products that the Portuguese colonizers found and exploit (a lot!) there: the Pau-Brasil, a tree that gave to them a very good wood. I am sure that if you go to Portugal you are going to find a lot of things made of Pau-Brasil from that time!
But let's go back to our current moment! All these services come either from native (original) forest cover or from forest plantations. And beside all the technologies that were and still are being developed to better exploit these resources, we still need to improve the strategy to maintain the offer of all these resources, and at the same time allow and give time for forests to recover and maintain other ecological and social function locally and globally. In my opinion this is a Sustainable Forest Management strategy. We are not going to stop using wood and other forest services (and I imagine that we also should not stop enjoying our moments under a tree!), and we dont have space enough to substitute all these sources from native (original) forest cover by those from forest plantations. A lot has been done about SFM and we have positive experiences in implementing it, but still we need to learn a lot from the mistakes and to understand that the principle of SFM strategies is that they need to be flexible to different forest realities.