After the first Euro-American settlers arrived in Seattle in the 1850s, the surrounding old-growth forests were rapidly harvested for lumber, causing environmental degradation and displacing native peoples.
Conflicts about the future of Pacific Northwest forests have continued since then. Only recently have academics, government agencies, industry, small private landowners, tribes, and environmental organizations come together to develop plans to protect the remaining old-growth forests, wildlife, streams, and fish, as well as providing environmentally friendly forest products.
Practicing sustainable forestry, maintaining healthy forests that are less susceptible to fire, insects and diseases; and fostering public enjoyment are now the main goals of forest management. However, conflicts still exist—and with climate change a looming threat, it is important to realize that forests give us much more than lumber.
Robert L. Edmonds, professor emeritus at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington (UW), wrote this book to bring attention to the sustainability of natural resources. He describes how Washington State’s forests and the practice of forestry have changed through time and how these changes relate to the long history of research and teaching at the UW. Its scope extends beyond Washington—many of the principles of sustainable forestry developed by faculty have been adopted worldwide.