Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
Criterion 7 Indicator 50
Rationale
The Extent to Which the Legal Framework Provides Opportunities for Public Participation in Policies and Decisions Related to Forests, and Supports Public Access to Information
 
Forests may be managed more sustainably if people have a chance to influence and support plans for forest management. Public participation can foster political support for sustainable management.

Evaluation
Legal framework for non-federal forest lands — public participation, public access to information
 
Public conservation policies on private forest lands are set through Oregon’s land use planning laws. The very first goal in these laws is the Citizen Involvement Goal, and it requires state and local governments to provide opportunities for public input on all decisions affecting land zoned for forest uses, and input on policies governing the permitted or conditional uses allowed on the land. The public must have the opportunity to be involved in all phases of the planning process, including the preparation of local plans, any revisions, and implementation measures. Under this law, governments must make the technical information necessary to reach policy decisions available to the public in a simplified, understandable form. State and local governments must also assist people in interpreting and effectively using the technical information available.
 
The Oregon Board of Forestry is a seven-member citizen board empowered by the Oregon legislature to supervise all matters of forest policy within the jurisdiction of the state of Oregon. Its mission is to "provide aggressive leadership in developing forest policy and programs that ensure the application of enlightened management to all public and private forest lands in Oregon." Public participation and awareness of the boards activities and decisions is mandated by ORS 192.610-690. The board and all other public entities are required to hold open meetings with advance notice to the public and to provide transcripts of such meetings upon request.
 
The state uses a variety of methods to encourage public participation in the Oregon Forest Practices Act. The Oregon Department of Forestry uses an open, collaborative, public involvement process when revisions to forest practice rules are being considered, or when monitoring studies are developed to measure the effectiveness of forest practice rules. Citizens are also encouraged to participate in regional forest practice committee meetings, other advisory group meetings, and public hearings on the development of forest practice rules and regulations. The Department of Forestry is legally mandated to hold public hearings when new forest practice rules and regulations are being proposed.
 
Legal framework for federally managed forests — public participation
 
The forest planning laws described under Indicator 49 require that federal land management agencies include public participation as a central component in their planning processes. The federal agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), have made extensive, ongoing efforts to share information with the public, hear the public’s concerns, and get public input on both forest plans and specific projects.
 
Legal framework for federally managed forests — public access to information
 
Federal agencies are subject to the national Freedom of Information Act, which makes almost all information that the agencies have available to the public on request, with only a few, specific exceptions. The information must be made available at no cost, or for minimal expense as required for copying and other costs, to anyone who inquires.