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The sustainable yield of renewable natural resources is traditionally defined as the extraction level of the resource which does not exceed the growth.

However, this definition is too restrictive in many cases. For a given stock of a biological resource, many sustainable yields can be defined in principle. Forests have several functions besides logging (such as, habitat protection, recreation and biodiversity) and the sustainable yield has to be defined on the basis of a particular objective. Ideally, the sustainable yield should be determined by forest experts on the basis of modelling, but if no such information is available natural growth can be used as a proxy. With respect to timber, the sustainable yield refers to fellings which are not more than growth of timber during the accounting period (i.e. net growth is positive or zero).

The sustainable yield refers to total fellings and not only to timber removed for own consumption and use. Another way of putting this is to say that if the closing stock is at least as high as the opening stock the yield for the accounting period is sustainable. During transitional periods (for example, after afforestation) the sustainable yield will differ from natural growth. The same may apply during transition from a previously virgin forest to a regularly managed forest.

Source Publication:
United Nations, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank, 2005, Handbook of National Accounting: Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting 2003, Studies in Methods, Series F, No.61, Rev.1, Glossary, United Nations, New York, para. 8.184.

Statistical Theme: Environmental statistics

Created on Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Last updated on Thursday, December 1, 2005