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The 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon is intended to engage Oregonians in an ongoing conversation about how best to manage Oregon's forests to meet our present and future environmental, economic, and social needs. While the meaning of the concept of "sustainability" has evolved with time, sustainability has remained a consistent theme for the Board of Forestry since the publication of the first Forestry Program for Oregon in 1977.
As we plan for the future, we ask citizens to consider the advantages we share as Oregonians:
  • Oregon is blessed with rich and diverse natural resources, with 90 percent of the state's historic forestland still in forest use and a diverse ownership base.
  • Oregonians have the knowledge and commitment to care for these resources.
  • Oregonians understand that forest resources and related businesses are vital to Oregon's future.
  • Oregon's forest resources remain the economic foundation of many rural communities and, carefully managed, these resources hold great potential for creating family-wage jobs in rural areas.
  • The productivity of Oregon's forest resources is high, and the state has the potential to increase its contribution to meeting growing national and global needs.
  • Oregon is a pioneer in scientific innovation, technological developments, forestry research, and forest practices monitoring.
  • Oregon has a strong legal framework, built on our land-use planning laws, the Forest Practices Act, the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, the Sustainability Act, and the Conservation Incentives Act.
  • Oregon is fortunate to have forward-thinking institutions such as the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, the Institute for Natural Resources, and the Oregon State University Forest Research Laboratory.
  • Oregon's reputation for sound forest management can leverage international consumer preferences for Oregon forest products.
Nature has given us a tremendous advantage. We must use it responsibly to build our economy, enhance our environment, and ensure that economic recovery reaches every community. Oregon is a progressive leader in forest management. By firmly incorporating sustainable forestry concepts into state policies, we will continue to be an example to other states and even to other nations. We will continue to test and use the tools provided by the criteria-and-indicators framework, and we will better engage all forest landowners, interest groups, and the general public in a constructive conversation.
Our goal through this conversation will be to create new alliances among diverse environmental, economic, and social interests, increase everyone's appreciation of the multiple values of Oregon's public and private forestlands, and promote a broader consensus on the future direction of Oregon forest policies. We hope that, through this process, society as a whole may also come to understand better what sustainability means in all areas of life and what every citizen and consumer will need to do to achieve it.
Our next tasks in this process are:
Increase public awareness. Results of public-opinion surveys and focus groups indicate that, while many Oregonians have strong opinions about the management of Oregon's forests, those opinions are often based on outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Sometimes these opinions are inconsistent with these same Oregonians' behaviors as consumers. The board and the department will assist the public in becoming more knowledgeable about current forestry issues and about the science, strategies, and actions contained in the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon to promote sustainable management of Oregon's forests.
Conduct strategic planning for the Department of Forestry. The department is developing a long-range strategic plan that will serve as a companion document to the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon. Looking at the same eight-year planning horizon, the agency strategic plan will describe the specific steps the agency's programs will take to carry out the Board of Forestry's strategies and actions. Where actions are needed by other agencies, organizations, or individuals, the plan will describe how the department will work with these other parties to further the board's strategies. Department of Forestry programs will contain outcome-based performance measures to evaluate progress in implementing the agency strategic plan and linking it to the department's budgeting, quality improvement, and employee appraisal processes.
Develop core indicators of sustainable forest management. Under each of the Forestry Program for Oregon strategies, potential indicators are listed that could be used to measure progress toward achieving the goals of that strategy. These indicators are a subset of 67 internationally recognized indicators. Consensus is needed within the Oregon forestry community on whether these are the appropriate indicators to use to evaluate Oregon's performance. Once they are finalized, these "core" indicators can be used to focus monitoring, assessments, and research, so that Oregon can more clearly tell its own citizens and the rest of the world the story of how well our forests are being managed. In particular, private landowners and federal land management agencies will need to work in partnership with the State of Oregon to reach agreement on the indicators and on the methods that will be used to collect and share data about them. Over time, the Board of Forestry and others will use the information collected for the core indicators to establish quantifiable policy targets and then measure and report on progress towards those targets.
The 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon will serve as the foundation for Board of Forestry policy deliberations and Department of Forestry strategic planning over the next several years. The board and the Department of Forestry are committed to implementing the strategies and actions outlined in this document, in combination with monitoring and evaluation to adjust our course as necessary.
Continued public involvement will also be needed for these strategies and actions to be successful. Please become involved in this ongoing discussion. Oregon needs to hear from you!