Forests and Forestry

Another Domicile of Plants

Apart from gardens, forests are among the major ecosystems that host plants. They are home to a vast variety of other organisms that depend on them for their flourishing as well and have been a long-standing concern of environmental ethicists. Humans interact with forests in various different ways, from using the resources they provide to recreational activities. Finally, forests constitute natural landscapes and are thus of interest even from an aesthetical perspective. Ethical discussions of issues pertaining to forests, e.g. preservation, sustainability, and fair distribution of resources, are therefore well-founded. They are commonly associated with two different labels, viz. forest ethics and forestry ethics.

With John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Holmes Rolston III, Robin Attfield, and many others, the main figures of environmental ethics in general and forestry ethics in particular feature in this comprehensive reader:

  • List, Peter C. 2000. Environmental Ethics and Forestry. A Reader. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Karen Syse takes the forester's perception of the forest landscape as a starting point:

  • Syse, Karen. 2001. "Ethics in the Woods." Ethics, Place and Environment 4 (3): 226-234.

The concept of naturalness in forestry ethics is explored by Nicole Klenk:

  • Klenk, Nicole. 2009. "The Ethics of 'Following Nature' in Forestry." Environmental Ethics 31 (1): 67-84.

Research on the impact of forest policy on human well-being is conducted by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Here is a small selection of their published work:

  • Macqueen, Duncan J. 2004. Forest Ethics: The Role of Ethical Dialogue in the Fate of the Forests. Comparing and Contrasting the International Forest Policy Dialogue With the Earth Charter Initiative. IIED.
  • Macqueen, Duncan J. 2005. Time and Temperance. How Perceptions About Time Shape Forest Ethics and Practice. IIED.
  • O'Reilly, Sheelagh. 2005. The Utility of Forest Ethics. A Proposed Approach Based on Field Work in Vietnam. IIED.