A large amount of research exists about forest ecosystems management and genetic improvement of tree species and varieties. Forestry also includes the development of better methods for the planting, protecting, thinning, controlled burning, felling, extracting, and processing of timber. One of the applications of modern forestry is reforestation, in which trees are planted and tended in a given area.
The forest industry holds major ecological, economic, and social importance in many regions. Forestry certification systems that verify sound forest stewardship and sustainable forestry were developed in the 1990s in response to criticism of some forestry practices, particularly deforestation in less developed regions, along with concerns over resource management in the developed world. In severe forest terrain, proper forestry is important for the prevention of dangerous soil erosion or even landslides. In such risk areas, forests can stabilize soils and prevent property damage or loss, injury or death.
There is public concern and increasing demand that forest land be managed for uses other than pure timber production, such as indigenous rights, recreation, watershed management, and preservation of wilderness, waterways and wildlife habitat. Still, public demand for wood products continues to rise.