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A comparison of the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon strategies with internationally recognized criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests
In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, the United States committed itself to forest sustainability. In 1994, the United States participated in the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management19 of Temperate and Boreal Forests (known as the Montreal Process group). The working group was charged with developing internationally recognized criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests at the national level. The United States was a signatory, along with 11 other nations, to the Montreal Process Santiago Declaration in 1995.20 This group of countries represents more than 90 percent of the world's temperate and boreal forests, 60 percent of all the world's forests, 45 percent of the world's trade in wood and wood products, and 35 percent of the world's population. The Santiago Declaration established seven criteria and 67 indicators of sustainable forest management for use by policy-makers, forest managers, and the general public.
A "criterion" is defined as a category or process by which sustainable management may be assessed. An "indicator" is defined as a measure (or measurement) of an aspect of a criterion.
The seven criteria are:
1. Conservation of biological diversity
2. Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems
3. Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality
4. Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources
5. Maintenance of forest's contribution to global carbon cycles
6. Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple social and economic benefits to meet the needs of societies
7. Legal, institutional, and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management
The criteria and indicators are not legally binding on any of the participating countries and are intended to serve only as guidelines. In 2003, the United States published a report on the conditions and trends of the nation's forest resources using the criteria and indicators as an organizing framework.21 The National Association of State Foresters has produced an online publication titled Principles and Guidelines for a Well-managed Forest. These principles and guidelines are also built on the Montreal Process criteria.22
The Board of Forestry has endorsed the use of this internationally recognized criteria and indicator framework as a tool to respond to legislative direction to assess and report on the cumulative effects of forest practices. In 2000, Oregon became the first state in the nation to publish a "first approximation report" to assess the status and trends of the state's forest resources as measured against the Montreal Process criteria and indicators. In Oregon's First Approximation Report for Forest Sustainability, the indicators are presented not as a set of thresholds that must be met to achieve sustainability, but rather as a set of agreed-upon topics on which to base forest policy dialogues. The report provided a snapshot of Oregon's forests at that point in time, based on available data, and a starting point for discussions about future forest sustainability.
The seven strategies listed in the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon are directly related to the Montreal Process criteria (see below).
Within the background text for each Forestry Program for Oregon strategy, selected indicators have been listed as potential tools the Board of Forestry and the public can use to measure Oregon's progress in achieving that strategy. Further technical and policy discussion is needed to reach a consensus on which indicators should be used for this purpose and how data will be collected to measure performance.