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Authored by: Kelvin S.-H. Peh , Yves Bergeron , Richard T. Corlett

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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Forests are stupendous systems. Since the first trees appeared on Earth in the Late Devonian, 390 million years ago, the complex three-dimensional structure of forests has supported the majority of terrestrial species on Earth and this is still true today. We ourselves evolved from a predominantly forest lineage, but the first humans occupied more open habitats and this non-forest origin is reflected in our ambiguous relationship with forests. On the one hand, this relationship until now has been largely destructive, with forests valued most as a source of land for cultivation, and for timber and bushmeat. On the other hand, on a crowded planet we increasingly value the services that forests can provide: clean water, erosion control, and the amelioration of local, regional and global climates. Forests are also important for recreation, and as sources of artistic and spiritual inspiration. Reconciling these incompatible objectives will require both a better understanding of forest ecology and a wider awareness of the multiple values of forests. We hope this book will contribute to both these aims.

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