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Cirad

Diversifying functions of planted forests

Varmola M., Gautier D., Lee D.K., Montagnini F., Saramäki J.. 2005. In : Mery Gerardo (ed.), Alfaro René (ed.), Kanninen Markku (ed.), Lobovikov Maxim (ed.). Forests in the global balance : changing paradigms. Vienne : IUFRO, p. 117-136. (IUFRO World Series, 17).

Planted forests are much more important than their share of the forest area indicates, and their importance will increase with time. They fulfill different functions, e.g. roundwood, fibre and fuelwood production, carbon sequestration, combating desertification and rural landscape diversification, and they contribute to biodiversity, and environmental rehabilitation for soil and water conservation. This article presents statistics and trends related to planted forests area development and global supply from plantations. Ongoing changes in the definitions of plantation and planted forest makes it almost impossible to derive precise global trends regarding future plantation area development. In addition, there are a great variety of drivers and constraints to planted forests in different regions. Because of the widening of the definition and changes in the use of plantations, plantations such as rubber, coconut and oil palm will be included in the statistics as plantations for wood production. The use of exotic and indigenous species in planted forests is also discussed, as well as the advantages of planted forests with mixed species. Changes in plantation size and ownership are favouring smaller plantations maintained by communities and smallholders. We discuss the mechanisms of plantation development, including the transformation of natural forests, plantations in degraded areas, natural grasslands, and open areas, as well as the reasons for forestation and methods of plantation establishment. The benefits of plantations for industry, society, and local people are shown. We present examples of plantation forestry in the context of forest management systems, ecosystem management, and biodiversity in plantations.

Mots-clés : forêt primaire; plantation forestière; choix des espèces; introduction de plantes; aménagement forestier; Écosystème; biodiversité; reconstitution forestière

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