Forest Systems: Living with Long-Term Change

  • Frederick J. Swanson
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII


Human societies depend heavily on forests for resources and habitat in many parts of the globe, yet the global extent of forests has declined by 40% through human actions since people first began clearing lands for agriculture. Forests still cover about 30% of the terrestrial surface and support 70% of Earth’s plant and animal species (Shvidenko et al. 2005). Societies residing in tropical forests alone account for half of the world’s indigenous languages. People have lived in and interacted with forests for thousands of years, both benefiting from their services and influencing the dynamics of the forests in which they live. Forests are therefore most logically viewed as social-ecological systems of which people are an integral component. Forests are globally important because of their broad geographic extent and the great wealth and diversity of ecological services they provide to global and local residents, including substantial biological and cultural diversity.


Ecosystem Service Adaptive Management Dead Wood Timber Production Former Soviet Union 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick J. Swanson
    • 1
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 2
  1. 1.Pacific Northwest Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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