Systems for sustainable management of tropical forests take into consideration those aspects of tropical forest ecology that are essential for the future existence of the forest:

• biodiversity, not only for the intangible benefits of biodiversity, but also because the diverse mutualisms that depend upon the survival of each species are essential for forest reproduction;

• nutrient retention and recycling mechanisms of the forest, especially the organic material on top of soils or near their surface.

The solution to maintaining diversity and associated mutualisms, maintaining nutrient cycling, and maintaining soil organic matter so essential to all functions of tropical ecosystems may lie not in any one management measure, but rather in a whole suite of measures, which will vary from country to country and situation to situation (Vanclay 1992). Furthermore, management to sustain the forest resource cannot be based upon ecological factors alone, but also must take into consideration social, political, economic, and cultural factors. These factors will be discussed in Chapter 7.

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