Futures of tropical production forests.
Forests are landscape-embedded complex systems with fates determined by multitudes of changing and interacting factors that are sectoral and extra-sectoral, biophysical and political, predictable and chaotic. The diversity of forest states (e.g. secondary, degraded, fragmented, invaded and managed) and the fact that none of these states is permanent gives reason for hope; even deforestation need not be permanent. With so many forest values recognized to different degrees by different people, the future of tropical production forests is likely to represent an ever-changing mosaic of a gradient of forested-type landscapes. To assure that this future is as environmentally, socioeconomically and politically sound as possible, researchers need to synthesize and evaluate what is known and then build on that knowledge while they continue learning. There is a critical need for interdisciplinary research at appropriate scales with the best designs possible to capture the impacts of relevant silvicultural treatments on the full range of response variables.