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Table 2 Summary of the valuation modes beyond some conceptualizations for variable retention harvesting (VRH). Some examples of different definitions are included (see references)

From: Variable retention harvesting: conceptual analysis according to different environmental ethics and forest valuation

VRH Definition Nature conceptualizations Human-nature relationships Predominant ethical view (how humans value nature)
(i) VRH focused on clear-cutting VRH is still controversial, at least in certain social circles where it is perceived as just sloppy clear-cuts (Nelson et al., 2017). Nature is at humans’ service, because here VRH is conceptualized as providing products for market. Humans are separated from nature. Consequentialism (market biased). Ends: the maximum crop of forest products.
(ii) VRH with dispersed and/or aggregated retention VRH is an approach to harvesting based on the retention of structural elements or biological legacies from the harvested stand for integration into the new stand to achieve various ecological objectives (Helms, 1998). Sustainable forestry sustaining ecological, economic, and/or social capital (Foster et al., 2010). VRH should include dead wood (Kruys et al., 2013) or should be combined with prescript fires (Heikkala et al., 2016). VRH approach to forest harvest combines different spatial distributions of structural retention to meet the objectives of forest managers. For example, dispersed retention (scattered trees) and aggregate retention (patches of continuous original forest) are two contrasting spatial models often applied together to gain the ecological benefits of both approaches (Soler et al., 2015, Soler et al., 2016). Nature brings direct and indirect benefits to humans because it provides goods and benefits (including esthetic and cultural values) for the current and future human generations. Humans interact with nature to obtain benefits. Deontological ethics.
Ends: forest products and biodiversity conservation.
(iii) VRH and the ecosystem functionality We define retention forestry as an approach to forest management based on the long-term retention of structures and organisms, such as live and dead trees and small areas of intact forest, at the time of harvest. The aim is to achieve a level of continuity in forest structure, composition, and complexity that promotes biodiversity and sustains ecological functions at different spatial scales (Gustafsson et al., 2012). Management practices, such as aggregated retention and other forms of VRH, which increase the proportion of harvested area under forest influence, may provide a mechanism to promote the re-colonization of mature-forest species (Baker et al., 2014), and where monitoring of VRH should include different taxonomic groups (Baker et al., 2015). Humans share nature with the other co-inhabitants. Relational system of interdependency between nature and people. Ethics of virtue (eco-centric, eco-social, bio-cultural). Common goods for all ecosystem co-inhabitants (including humans).