What is forest biology?
Forest biology is the science of life and life processes operating in forests, phenomena occurring at various spatio-temporal scales, from short-term behavioral interactions between individual organisms to millennia-long continental-wide processes. Forest is defined as a biological system, formed by a web of multilaterally connected organisms and of interacting process. Apart from research on trophic relationships (energy flow, matter cycling, trophic webs), it also covers studies of structural relationships (“ecological engineering”, e.g. hole-webs) and communication (information) networks. Understanding of biological relationships in forests requires the integration of approaches from numerous subdisciplines (ecology, behaviour, evolution, physiology, biogeography). Remaining mostly basic, the forest biology is complementary to the utilitarian (applied) approach prevailing in forestry sciences. Its results provide a necessary reference for the applied science, as well as for conservation of forest resources and preservation of forests biological richness.
Forest biology – why it is needed?
Research on forests is largely carried out by numerous institutions in the forestry sector. They mostly deal with applied questions, utilization and management of forest resources. Also forestry faculties educate principally specialists in the economical utilization of forests. This utilitarian approach has so dominated the field, that no biological subdiscipline has formed focused on studying forests as the most complicated terrestrial biological systems. There is no common ground to exchange ideas, no seminars, no learned societies, no forest biology journals. Forest biologists’ research remains largely disintegrated and making any syntheses is very difficult, the forest cannot be seen “for the trees”