Forest Sustainability Reporting in the United States
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Indicator 7.51: Implements periodic forest-related planning, assessment, and policy review

An indicator for Criterion 7: Legal, Institutional, and Economic Framework for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management

What is the indicator and why is it important?

The sustainability of forests depends on society’s institutional ability to comprehensively evaluate trends and conditions in diverse sectors and to subsequently make responses that will ensure the sustained use, management, and protection of forest resources and the communities that depend on them. Such actions are typically predicated on institutional conditions that foster well-focused and technically sound plans, assessments, and policy reviews that are sensitive to a range of forest values and that are coordinated with a variety of forest-related sectors.

What does the indicator show?

Indicator 7.51 is quite similar to Indicator 7.46 in that it is related to forest planning and policy review, although perhaps with a slightly narrower focus. As a result, the following paraphrases the presentation given for Indicator 7.46. These two indicators are apt to be consolidated in future revisions of the MP C&I.

National, regional, State, and local governments perform periodic forest planning, assessment, and policy reviews. Planning is required as a prescriptive for all Federal land agencies for lands under their jurisdiction, and is similarly required in some fashion for most State and county forest lands. Some regional planning efforts also occur, voluntarily or not. These government planning efforts typically have a required process, usually including some type of public input and appeals. Inter-sectoral consultation and planning is frequently required as part of the process. The Federal and State governments also write Federal or State forest plans for private forest lands in the country or State. These plans usually do not dictate or create mandatory rules, regulations, incentives, or other government interventions in markets. Instead, they generally summarize information about forest resource conditions and trends; identify issues and opportunities; and suggest possible policies that could enhance sustainable forest management.

Educational, research, and analysis policy mechanisms are usually an integral part of forest planning efforts, at all scales from national to local. These policies provide education to forest managers and policymakers on forest conditions, threats, and management responses. Various incentives have been provided for private or public forest landowners to meet the recommendations contained in forest plans.

Table 51-1: Policy and Governance Classification

What has changed since 2003?

The changes in this planning indicator are similar to those for Indicator 7.46.

Criterion 7 Indicators