The ecology of forest disturbances
Forest disturbances are among the most spectacular manifestations of ecological change. They are the subjects of countless scientific studies, newspaper headlines, local and national legislation, and international initiatives. Despite the ubiquity of disturbances in forests globally, many central questions remain unresolved and many policy strategies are at odds with contemporary ecological understanding. Here we consider the causes and consequences of forest disturbances and discuss related ecosystem management. While throughout much of the history of the science of ecology, disturbances were considered aberrations or disruptions to functioning ecosystems, there is now clear recognition that disturbances are integral components of functioning ecosystems, representing a necessary part of the ecological whole. Although disturbances, especially large and severe ones, can be challenging from a management perspective, it is often possible to incorporate disturbances into management plans that provide multiple ecosystem services. Eliminating disturbances is neither possible, nor always desirable. Although passive management of all disturbed forests is not necessarily feasible, allowing disturbances, even large ones, to shape some forest ecosystems may promote ecological resilience in the face of climatic and environmental change.
Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes
Kulakowski, Dominik; Buma, Brian; Guz, Jaclyn; and Hayes, Katherine, "The ecology of forest disturbances" (2020). Geography. 265.