Characteristics Relevant to Management and Conservation

An objective of this book is to present practices for sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests. Sustainable management means utilizing the forest for human benefit without destroying the capacity of the forest to reproduce itself. Certain ecological characteristics render tropical forests particularly susceptible to disturbances and should be considered if a tropical forest is to be managed sustainably. They are:

• high diversity of species

• high frequency of cross-pollination

• common occurrence of mutualisms

• high rate of energy flow through primary producers, consumers, and decomposers

• a relatively tight nutrient cycle

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