The role of plantations in managing the world's forests in the Anthropocene



The public view of tree plantations is somewhat ambiguous. While planting a single tree is generally considered good for the environment, planting a million trees raises concerns in some circles. Although plantations are often used to compensate for bad forestry practices, to willingly simplify otherwise complex forest ecosystems, or as a strategy for allowing the current petroleum-based economy to continue on its course, we believe plantations have a legitimate place in the sustainable management of forests. Multi-purpose plantations, designed to meet a wide variety of social, economic, and environmental objectives, can provide key ecosystem services, help preserve the world's remaining primary forests, and sequester an important proportion of the atmospheric carbon released by humans over the past 300 years.