Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
Sustainable Forestry Indicators Project
Project Background
Sustainability has emerged worldwide as a unifying concept in forest management.  “Sustainable forest management” is defined in the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon  as meaning forest resources across the landscape are used, developed, and protected at a rate and in a manner that enables people to meet their current environmental, economic, and social needs, and also provides that future generations can meet their own needs.  However, sustainability is an abstract value, like justice.  As stand-alone concepts, we cannot reduce values like sustainability and justice to mere numbers. 
 
The seven strategies of the Forestry Program for Oregon form a framework around which forest sustainability issues can be organized and discussed and to identify the outcomes the Board of Forestry wants to achieve from a statewide perspective.  The Forestry Program for Oregon recommends that Oregonians achieve consensus on a set indicators as useful tools to measure progress towards the goal of sustainably managed forest resources.  The endorsed indicators can provide the Oregon Board of Forestry, other policy-makers, and the public with information describing the environmental, economic and social conditions of Oregon’s public and private forests and provide a cost-effective way to consistent collect important data needed to monitor changes in these conditions over time. 
 
Indicators can produce the additional benefits of conveying critical and complex information more simply to build public confidence and facilitating better communication and cooperation among all parties interested in forest resources.
 
The indicators should be viewed as being similar to measuring sticks.  Indicators provide a tool to make policy objectives measurable.  They can tell us what current conditions and trends are, but they do not tell us what the desired conditions or objectives should be.  Determining how to collect data and report data for each indicator is a technical task.  Determining what to measure and what the desired condition or range of conditions are political tasks informed by science.  These political discussions must consider how best to integrate the environmental, economic, and social benefits of Oregon’s forests over time. 
 
Oregon indicators of sustainable forest management are intended to address all Oregon public and private forestlands, and belong to all Oregonians - regardless of their values and perspectives -and not just the Board of Forestry.  The development of sustainable forest management indicators is an important step in implementation of the Forestry Program for Oregon. Now that they are in place, Oregon sustainable forest management indicators will help Oregonians reach consensus on what sustainable forestry means to us.  They have the potential to guide us towards forest management policies for our public and private forests that are less polarizing and more politically sustainable than we have experienced the past 30 years.  They will provide the Board of Forestry, our partners and cooperators, Oregon citizens, and potential purchasers of Oregon forest products with a comprehensive but manageable set of measurable parameters to assist them in understanding Oregon’s forest conditions and trends. In addition, Oregon indicators of sustainable forest management can:
  • Help to shape social understanding of forests and the forces that influence them;
  • Place natural resource management on par with economic indicators that leaders and the public will understand;
  • Provide a framework to coordinate natural resource inventory, assessment, planning, and research; and 
  • Provide citizens interested in forests with a tool to encourage society to address the needs of forests.
 
Oregon indicators may also provide valuable linkages to other sustainability conversations and forest resource assessments at community, regional, national and international scales.

Ad Hoc Sustainable Forest Management Advisory Committee
Board of Forestry Ad Hoc Sustainable Forest Management Advisory Committee Membership

Committee Chair Craig Shinn, Portland State University
Susan Ash, Portland Audubon
Representative Chuck Burley, House District 54
Kevin Craig, Coquille Tribe
Jon Germond/Audrey Hatch, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kevin Godbout, Weyerhaeuser Co.
Jim Golden/Cal Joyner, USDA Forest Service, Region 6
Mike Haske, USDOI Bureau of Land Management, Oregon/Washington Office
Chris Jarmer, Northwest Regional Forest Practices Committee/Oregon Forest Industries Council
Kemper McMaster, USDOI Fish and Wildlife Service
Tom Quigley/Cindi West/Paul Dunn, USDA Forest Service/PNW Research Station
Hal Salwasser, OSU College of Forestry
John Shelk, Ochoco Lumber Company
Gary Springer, Committee for Family Forestlands
Karen Steer, Sustainable Northwest
Rex Storm, Associated Oregon Loggers
Karen Tarnow/Bob Baumgartner, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Bob Van Dyk, Pacific University
Sara Vickerman, Defenders of Wildlife
Representative Brad Witt, House District 31
 
 
Invitation Letter

Committee Meeting Dates, Meeting Agendas, and Meeting Notes

 Meeting Date
 Meeting Agenda
 Meeting Notes
 
 April 27, 2005 Agenda Meeting Flip Chart Notes
 May 25-26, 2005 (Workshop) Agenda No meeting notes produced
 June 22, 2005 Agenda Meeting Notes
 July 6, 2005 Agenda Meeting Notes
 August 10, 2005 Agenda Meeting Notes
 September 26, 2005 Agenda Meeting Notes
 October 24, 2005 Agenda Meeting Notes
 April 12, 2006 Agenda  Meeting Notes

Project Plan
Project Plan for Developing Sustainable Forest Management Indicators for Oregon's Forests and Assessing Progress
 

Sustainable Forestry Indicator Package
The final version of the report on Oregon Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management is available in this section. This work was prepared by the Oregon Department of Forestry, based on recommendations from the Ad Hoc Sustainable Forest Management Indicators Advisory Committee and the Oregon Board of Forestry, and was endorsed by the Board on January 3, 2007.  Indicator development progress by Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy is summarized in subsequent sections.
 
Subsequent to the Oregon Board of Forestry's Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest Management Indicators completing its work and presenting its recommended draft indicators to the Board on September 6, 2006, department staff prepared a set of initial recommendations for desired trends for the recommended indicators.  These desired trends have also been incorporated into the final version of the department's report.
 
Oregon Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management - Final w/August 7, 2007 technical edits (Endorsed by the Oregon Board of Forestry on January 3, 2007) [PDF; 692 KB; 108 pages]
 
The final report is lengthy since it provides detailed technical descriptions of each of the 19 indicators.  Interested parties are encouraged to review the cover letter and at least pages 5 to 14 of the report for a basic overview of the committee's recommendations.  Then, readers can consult the more detailed descriptions for indicators or initial desired trend statements that are of interest.
 
July 25, 2006 Transmittal letter from the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest Management Indicators Chair Craig Shinn to Chair Hobbs and Members of the Board of Forestry [PDF]
 
To provide context for future use of the indicators and trend statements, on January 3, 2007, when the Board of Forestry endorsed the final sustainable forest indicators, the Board also adopted a statement of intent.
 
Oregon Board of Forestry Statement of Intent for the Use of Oregon Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management, Adopted by the Board on January 3, 2007 [PDF]

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy A
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy A:  Promote a sound legal system, effective and adequately funded government, leading-edge research, and sound economic policies.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee’s October 24, 2005 meeting where staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy A:  forest planning and assessment capabilities, public forestry education and public access to information, physical and human resource infrastructure, investment and taxation policies, and forest practices compliance.  Draft indicators were presented for committee review and comment via e-mail on November 7, 2005.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy B
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy B:  Ensure that Oregon's forests provide diverse social and economic outputs and benefits valued by the public in a fair, balanced, and efficient manner.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee's July 6, 2005 meeting where staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy B: revenues to state and local governments, employment and wages, timber products harvests and consumption, ecosystem services, and forest products sector competitiveness.  Draft indicators were presented for review and discussion at the committee’s September 26 and October 24, 2005 meetings.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:
  • B.a.  Forest revenues supporting state and local government public services   
  • B.b.   Forest-related employment and wages   
  • B.c.   Forest ecosystem services contributions to society
  • B.d.   Forest products sector vitality

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy C
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy C:  Maintain and enhance the productive capacity of Oregon's forests to improve the economic well-being of Oregon's communities.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee’s July 6, 2005 meeting where staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy C:  maintenance of the forest land base and timber harvest and growth rates.  Draft indicators were presented for review and discussion at the committee’s September 26, 2005 meeting.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:  
 
 
 

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy D
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy D:  Protect, maintain, and enhance the soil and water resources of Oregon's forests.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee’s August 10, 2005 meeting where staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy D:  water quality, aquatic biotic integrity, forest roads, and drinking water.  Draft indicators were presented for review and discussion at the committee’s September 26 and October 24, 2005 meetings.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:  
 
 
 

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy E
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy E:  Contribute to the conservation of diverse native plant and animal populations and their habitats in Oregon's forests.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at a facilitated, two-day plant and animal conservation indicators workshop in May, 2005.  At the advisory committee’s June 22, 2005 meeting, staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy E:  forest vegetation, forest types in protected categories, and species at risk.  Two of three planned draft indicators were presented for review and discussion at the committee’s August 10, 2005.  All draft indicators were presented for further review and discussion at the committee’s September 26, 2005 meeting.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:
 
 

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy F
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy F:  Protect, maintain, and enhance the health of Oregon's forest ecosystems, watersheds, and airsheds within a context of natural disturbance and active management.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:   This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee’s June 22, 2005 meeting.  Staff was directed to develop draft indicators to address the following high priority components of Strategy F:  tree mortality, invasive species, fuel reduction treatments, and fuel conditions.  Four draft indicators were presented for review and discussion at the committee’s August 10, 2005.   All draft indicators were presented for further review and discussion at the committee’s September 26, 2005 meeting.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:
 
 

Indicator Development - Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy G
Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy G:  Enhance carbon storage in Oregon's forests and forest products.
 
Indicator Development Progress Report:  This strategy was initially discussed at the advisory committee’s October 24, 2005 meeting where staff was directed to develop a draft indicator to address the following high priority component of Strategy G:  carbon storage and flux.  A draft indicator was provided to the advisory committee via e-mail for review on December 29, 2005.  Additional review occurred at the April 12, 2006 committee meeting.
 
Indicators:
  • G.a. Carbon stocks on forestlands and in forest products 
 
 

Developmental Indicator Concepts
The following indicator concepts were not submitted for Board of Forestry adoption.  However these concepts address other important and/or emerging issues that warrant more review at a future date.
 
Strategy A
  • Incentive and tax policy effects on forest investment
  • Use of indigenous knowledge in forest management
 
Strategy B
  • Trends in forestland ownership, management strategies, and condition related to production of spiritual, existence, and other non-market values
  • Forest-related personal income tax revenues to state and local governments
  • Consumption of timber products and timber harvests in Oregon 
 
Strategy C
 
Strategy D
 
Strategy E
  • Terrestrial habitat quality index
  • Population trends of "secure" forest plants and animal species 
        
Strategy F
  • Area and percent of forestland subject to levels of air pollutants that may cause negative impacts on forest ecosystems.
  • Ecological functions and biotic integrity 
  • Spatial distribution and abundance of invasive plants
 
Strategy G
  • Carbon offsets when forest products are used instead of alternative materials
 

Invited Review Panel Process
Draft Invited Review Panel Process for the committee's proposed core indicators was discussed at the committee's October 24, 2005 meeting.  Based on committee members' recommendations, the following individuals were asked to review and comment on the February 10, 2006 draft indicators.  Concurrently, technical experts who had previously assisted the committee during indicator scoping and development were asked to review and comment on the February 10, 2006 draft indicator package.
 
Invited Reviewers
 
Al Albee, USDA Forest Service
Mike Barnes, Oregon Small Woodlands Association
Jim Brown
Nils Christofferson, Wallowa Resources
Phil Cogswell
Rita Conrad, Oregon Progress Board
Adam Davis, Davis Hibbitts, and Midghall
Russell Hoeflich, The Nature Conservancy
Jenny Holms, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Gary Larsen, USDA Forest Service
Robin O'Malley, Heinz Center
Barry Noon, Colorado State University
Howard Sohn, Lone Rock Timber Company
Bettina Von Hagen, Ecotrust
Duncan Wyse, Oregon Business Council
 
Ten of the 15 invited reviewers responded with comments.  A summary of those comments is provided below.  This summary provided a basis for committee discussion at the April 12 2006 meeting.
 
Summary of Invited Reviewer Comments, Technical Comments, and ODF Staff Recommendations on Draft Oregon Sustainable Forest Management Indicators  [doc; 237 KB; 40 pages]

Read more . . .
The Society of American Foresters (SAF) published an article about Oregon's Sustainable Forest Management Indicators and the process for development in their Forestry Source publication for October 2006.  With permission from SAF, that article is included on this page.
 
Article from Forestry Source, October 2006
Oregon Department of Forestry Staff Contact
Kevin Birch, Program Director
Forest Resource Planning Program
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street
Salem, OR  97310
PH:  503-945-7405
FAX: 503-945-7490
EMAIL: kbirch@odf.state.or.us