Forest Service is the best organization to continue
collecting that information. However, of the remaining
19 biological indicators, 10 are clearly in the realm
of other organizations." Roundtable members agree that
multi-stakeholder cooperation is essential for gathering
broad support for the data needed and agreement on protocols
for measuring data will help ensure successful implementation
of Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators and give
the effort public credibility," says John Heissenbuttel
of the American Forest and Paper Association. One challenge
for stakeholders is coming to agreement on the interpretation
of certain indicators and deciding how to evaluate them.
"For some indicators, no science currently exists to
evaluate them," says Heissenbuttel.
Roundtable participants are working on developing non-
value-laden interpretation of the criteria and indicators
using objective data. "The bottom line is, are we maintaining
resources or depleting them?" says Kevin Birch, a planning
coordinator with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Banzhaf, Executive Director of the Society of American
Foresters, observes that interpreting data and applying
it to practice is difficult. "How do we know if we are
doing a good or bad job?" Banzhaf asks.
It has been apparent from the onset of the dialog that
different members of the forestry community will interpret
the data differently. Rob Hendricks of the Forest Service
Office of International Programs reminds us, "The indicators
were designed to be simple and easy to communicate to
the public." The initial process used to identify appropriate
criteria and indicators involved a very large number
of stakeholders, technical experts, and governments
worldwide. As with the Nation's economic indicators,
the significance of each indicator and its trends will
have different implications for each interest group.
"Our concern at this moment should be to encourage consensus
on the elements of sustainable forest management in
a non-threatening way," says Hendricks.
early benefit of the Sustainability Roundtable has been
to provide a way for stakeholders with varying perspectives
and constituents to communicate in a common language.
In addition, the roundtable is focusing on issues of
mutual interest. The Sustainability Roundtable has the
potential to develop a commonly agreed upon means to
assess sustainable forest management, and to minimize
controversy regarding forest management practices.
Rose, State Forester of Minnesota and representative
of the National Society of State Foresters Sustainable
Forestry Committee says, "State foresters have long
been interested in defining and practicing sustainable
forestry. The Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators
and the work of the Sustainability Roundtable provide
a framework to determine sustainable forestry definitions
and practices. I look forward to helping refine and
implement practices based on good science."
Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators is another
tool in our tool kit for realizing our conservation
goals," states Nicholas Brown of World Wildlife Fund.
"The roundtable's work over the coming months and years
will show whether the process is useful and implementable."
Maille is editor of the International Program News.
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