|Abstract or Summary
- A broad definition of forestry would include the study of trees, forests, and the habitat they provide as well as 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-1940’s, 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 request a deep understanding of complementary disciplines. As a result, a forest science collection is most useful when it is in close proximity to a sound collection the natural, environmental, and agricultural sciences. Likewise, users of a wood science or forest engineering collection will rely on access to other collections in the physical sciences and civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering.
Finally, to address the interaction of humans and the forest as a multipurpose natural 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 non-governmental organization report series. In comparison to these, trade, professional, and specialized scholarly journals constitute a highly regarded, yet smaller portion of the serial information sources 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. Government agencies such as the regional research and experiment stations of the U.S. Forest Service provide vital 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 on the Forest Service TreeSearch website. Electronic version of many Canadian government forestry report series are also available free via the web. In addition, Canadian libraries that focus 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 non-governmental, non-profit international organizations, as well as from 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 website.
There are numerous serial report publications now available via the internet from other non-governmental, non-profit agencies. These are particularly important for coverage of international forestry. The FAO Forestry Sector website will identify and serve as a portal to many of these resources, as will the “Forestry AgNIC” website.
This selection of scholarly, academic, and trade journals for forestry is representative and by no means exhaustive. In 2001, the 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. It also provided the core set of scholarly titles for this list to which I have added a few titles in subsequent years. 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 consider the journal subscription price, and give preference to professional society publications over journals from commercial publishers.
When updating this selection, I look for titles that reflect changing concerns in forestry. With this in mind, I have added Wood Material Science & Engineering. Monitoring additions to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) serves as an inexpensive entrée to international society publications and research journals, though attention needs to be paid to their process of peer review when the journal publisher claims to be “scholarly.” In addition to Silva Fennica, a classic title new to open access, I have added Fire Ecology, and Mathematical and Computational Forestry & Natural Resources as strong representatives of new peer-reviewed, open-access publications. An addition that shows the changing nature of digital journals-website “hybrids” is the Eastern Native Tree Society Bulletin. With some reluctance, I removed the Journal of Forest Products Business Research. Without a programmer, it is difficult for libraries to make it accessible to their users.
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 the monographs and serials that have defined “science-based forestry” during the last century. It 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.
Many academic libraries have established open-access repositories as a means of archiving their local institutional scholarship. When signing a copyright transfer agreement with the journal publisher, authors need to retain their rights to deposit a version of their article with their home institution. For that reason, I include information on “author rights” taken from publisher websites and the SHERPA-RoMEO website. These policies change as publishers merge or take over other imprints, and I encourage checking publisher and SHERPA-RoMEO websites for updates.