Forestry and the environment - a sustainable prospect.

  • Fergal Mulloy National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), Belfield, Dublin 4.
Keywords: Sustainable forest management, sustainable development, environment, afforestation, deforestation, economics, biodiversity, United Nations, forest management.


The author traces the emergence of sustainable development as a significant political issues during the 1980s, particularly in regard to forests in developing countries. From about the early 1990s a new working definition of sustainable forest management began to be developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and other international bodies. However, there fundamental differences in outlook between developed and developing countries, who saw the problem in regional rather than global terms. These differences were partially reconciled in the 1996 UNCED definition of sustainability. These developments and the Helsinki Process (1996) have implications for the development of a programme of sustainable forest management in Ireland. This programme must recognise that the overriding goal of Irish forestry policy must be to re-establish the forest and associated ecosystems. However, the forest must be understood as an ecosystem within which a dynamic relationship and interdependence exits between flora and fauna and their environment, and human activity must be sensitive to this relationship. Resilience, response and recovery are central elements in a healthy ecosystems and these are supported by biodiversity. Forest operations should be assessed in terms of their impact on sustainability and this can be done through Life Cycle Analysis which identifies and evaluates the inputs and outputs of processes in terms of environmental costs. The change to using better land for planting has ecological as well as production and economic consequences and will enhance the process of sustainable forestry development in future years.
How to Cite
Mulloy, F. (1997) “Forestry and the environment - a sustainable prospect.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: (Accessed: 29May2024).
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