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Criterion 7 Indicator 64
Rationale
Capacity to Develop Methodologies to Measure and Integrate the Environmental and Social Costs and Benefits of Forest Management Into Markets and Public Policies; and Also The Capacity to Reflect Forest-Related Resource Depletion or Replenishment in National Accounting Systems
 
If methods exist to measure the tradeoffs between environmental, social, and economic costs and benefits, then decision-makers can have a better awareness of all the consequences of policies or actions affecting forests. Increased knowledge will make it more likely that forests are managed on a sustainable basis.
 

Evaluation
 
Non-federal forest lands — methodologies to integrate environmental and social costs
 
Oregon does not have a system of "green accounting" and is unlikely to develop one without leadership from the federal government. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which is part of the Economics and Statistics Administration in the Department of Commerce, has conducted an analysis to implement the United Nations system of environmental and economic accounting. In its initial work, BEA focused on mineral resources, but it has also looked at forests as national income accounts. Released in May 1994, the report was controversial to the point that Congress eliminated funding for the work, pending the results of a study currently underway by the National Academy of Sciences. This study will focus on analytical methods.
 
There is growing interest in including the environment in national income accounts. For this to be done in a meaningful way, there will have to be significant improvements in the underlying environmental and economic data. If the United States is to embrace methodologies for green national accounting, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will do it. The experience with BEA’s May 1994 report indicates that any movement toward green accounting will be controversial and problematic. We cannot determine the outcome of the study by the National Academy of Sciences and government reaction to it.
 
Federally managed forests — methodologies to integrate environmental and social costs
 
The NEPA process and other planning processes for federal forests (see Indicator #49) ensure that environmental costs and benefits (and to a lesser extent, social costs and benefits as well) are considered in resource plans and projects. Although the potential costs are not always quantified, they are recognized. This analysis is the basis for the extensive array of mitigation measures and environmental safeguards that are used in all projects on federal forest lands. These safeguards and mitigation measures do increase the cost of the resources extracted, and thus are taken into account by the marketplace.