Forest management – the rational approach

Introduction by Michael Sailer, CEO, Oeko-Institut

Forests have been part of our lives since time immemorial, constantly interacting with human communities. A forest is a high-value ecosystem which makes vital contributions to biodiversity, soil conservation and climate regulation. It also provides us with some of our most important natural resources, including wood, the material that first made human settlement possible. In light of these highly diverse functions, rational and balanced forest management is of key significance. It must consider the sometimes conflicting interests of commercial use and environmental protection, both in Germany and worldwide.

Forests have always been on the Oeko-Institut’s agenda, thanks in part to the support provided by Hermann Graf von Hatzfeldt, previously a longstanding member of our Committee and Advisory Board and whose expertise as a forest owner has greatly benefited our organisation. So I am delighted that he has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on the challenges of ecological forest management and climate change adaptation in the interview in this issue of eco@work. Forests have often featured in our research, either as a individual aspect or as the main thematic focus; an example of the latter is the Forest Vision study, which we also profile in this issue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study proved highly controversial, reflecting the multitude of conflicting attitudes and approaches to the topic of forests. Nevertheless, I believe that the Oeko-Institut has an ongoing responsibility to initiate and engage in debate about contentious issues, as our colleagues from the Energy and Climate Division demonstrated in this instance.

I wish you pleasant reading and hope you will soon find time to enjoy a tranquil walk in a forest near you.


Michael Sailer
CEO, Oeko-Institut