The multiple use forest management planning (MUFMP) approach was developed to implement the principle of sustainable forest management; in simplest terms, the balance of ecological, economic and socio-cultural values in forestry. This paper has two main objectives. First, it provides a critical review of the scientific papers addressing the fundamental characteristics of multiple use planning, including forest characterization, spatial planning, ecosystem services, forest policies and regulations, and decision-making tools. The second objective is to discuss and evaluate various approaches focusing on MUFMP's inherent strengths and weaknesses, as well as the future challenges in realizing the MUFMP concept. Critical analysis of the limitations of contemporary approaches are made to address the need for managing forest ecosystems for multiple values. The MUFMP approach is still dominated by a primary goal of timber production, as such, it requires more empirical data if it is to be used for holistic planning, more ecosystem services need to be characterized and stochastic elements are missing to address risks and uncertainties. Most Decision Support Systems (DSS) are tailored to local conditions and do not adequately address the trade-offs amongst multiple objectives. Other limitations include a challenge in characterizing and controlling spatial configuration of patches, inadequacy of dynamic models estimating the productivity of forests for various ecosystem services, and the limited institutional capacity for effective enforcement of legal frameworks. Finally, the review indicates a paradigm shift from plain problem solving with a solo timber production, to the development and structuring of a comprehensive approach, and most recently to the sustainable management of forest ecosystems for multiple goods and services with the effective use of DSS and participation.
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