|Abstract or Summary
- A broad definition of forestry would include the study of trees and forests and their use by people. Modern, "science-based" forestry began in the nineteenth century when Europeans looked for specialists who could address questions on wood supply and extraction both at home and in their colonies. The threat of forest loss and wood scarcity created concern for increased forest growth as well as management techniques that would improve yield. By 1891, the United States had established publicly owned forest reserves. In 1900, the Society of American Foresters was established, as was the first School of Forestry in North America at Yale University. The U.S. Forest Service was formed three years later. This combination of professional, scholarly, and governmental resources continues to provide the core of U.S. forestry research today.
Since the mid-1940s, the scope of forestry has grown in response to economics, demography, politics, and social change as well as developments in related fields of study. While at one time German was the primary language of forestry, since World War II most research is reported in English. Knowledge of international research and practices has grown in importance since the 1980s, particularly as broader trade in forest products influenced the health of forests. In addressing global forest concerns, international and local researchers have begun to "discover" reservoirs of indigenous knowledge concerning native forests and their use.
Modern forestry education has a tradition of integrating concepts from a variety of disciplines and creating new specialties. These include forest genetics, forest ecology, forest recreation, forest economics, forest engineering, urban forestry, plantation forestry, forest pathology, and wood science. The questions addressed by forestry are often interdisciplinary or require a deep understanding of a complementary discipline. As a result, a forest science collection is most useful when it is in close proximity to a sound collection in the natural, environmental, and agricultural sciences. Likewise, users of a wood science or forest engineering collection will rely on access to collections in the physical sciences and civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering.
Finally, to address the interaction of humans and the forest as a multipurpose resource, whether looking at income generation, recreational use, traditional knowledge and practices, conservation strategies or sustainable practices, a forest researcher will need access to collections in the social sciences. Given these assumptions about access to other collections, we can define a distinct serial literature for forestry. First, it is anchored in the history of forestry and is composed largely of government document series and international and nongovernmental organization report series. By comparison to these, trade, professional and specialized scholarly journals constitute a highly regarded yet smaller portion of the serial information resources in forestry.
The list of periodicals included here does not include government publications, although these are an important source of technical as well as scientific information. Governmental agencies such as the regional research and experiment stations of the U.S. Forest Service are vital sources of information on all aspects of forestry. Series titles such as the regional General Technical Reports are numerous and now are published electronically and made available from the Forest Service's TreeSearch web site. Electronic versions of many Canadian government forestry report series are also available free via the web. In addition, Canadian libraries focusing on forestry will benefit from their access to the National Research Council of Canada's many serial publications.
Although they are important sources of information, statistical series and serials available from nongovernmental, nonprofit international organizations and research institutions have not been included in this listing. Several statistical series and The State of the World's Forests are available as searchable datasets and in full text from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forestry Sector web site.
There are numerous serial report publications now available via the Internet from other nongovernmental, nonprofit agencies. These are particularly important for coverage of "international forestry." The FAO Forestry Sector web site will help identify and serve as a portal to many of these resources, as will the "AgNIC Forestry" web site.
This selection of scholarly, academic, and trade journals for forestry is primarily representative and by no means exhaustive. In 2001, faculty members in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University were asked to list their most used or "top ten" journals. This served to provide confirmation of the multidisciplinary underpinnings of forestry but also to provide a core set of scholarly titles for this list. In general when selecting scholarly titles, I look for those with high impact factor rankings or journals with a long citation half-life as provided by the Journal Citation Reports from Thomson ISI. When deciding between comparable titles, I considered the journal subscription price, and gave preference to professional society publications over journals from commercial publishers.
I look for titles that reflect changing concerns in forestry. Recent additions to the list of forestry titles include International Journal of Wildland Fire, the Journal of Forest Products Business Research, and Small-Scale Forest Economics, Management and Policy. Monitoring additions to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) serves as an inexpensive entree to international society publications and research journals. For this edition, I have included of these titles Forest@ and Revista Arvore as strong, representative open-access publications. Ecoforestry was removed from this section with this edition, not for its content but because of its publishing record.
For anyone new to managing a forestry collection, I recommend Literature of Forestry and Agroforestry, published by Cornell University Press in 1996. It provides a useful history of the field and identifies both monographs and serials that have defined "science-based forestry" during the last century. This serves as a good foundation for considering new areas of research and how best to provide a wide array of "evidence-based" forestry information in the future.