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Development of appropriate economic and social indicators of sustainable forest management
Innes, John L.
The principle change from the original project description is a decrease in the number of case study countries, in favour of increasing the depth of research in the remaining two countries. The team members have reassessed the merits of increasing research depth at the expense of breadth and have agreed that more could be learned from concentrating more time and effort within two Neotropical case study countries (namely, Brazil and Mexico), with an increase in the number of case study communities in each of these countries, rather than spreading efforts thin across three Neotropical countries. The project will still draw on information from other researchers in Bolivia, but will not have a field component there. The BC Common Ground project has shown that there is great interest in the Province of BC in the development of techniques to describe whether forests are being managed sustainably. While methods to describe the environmental aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM) are well developed, social and economic indicators remain a challenge, particularly at the scale of the forest management unit. This is reflected in the Montreal Process criteria and indicators (C&I), which have five environmental criteria but only two social and economic criteria. The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers C&I are even more skewed, with five environmental criteria and one combined socio-economic criterion. Elsewhere, particularly in the Tropics, much greater attention has been paid to social and economic criteria and indicators, and the aim of this project is to utilize this knowledge and apply it to the BC situation. A large number of C&I for SFM have been developed globally (following C&I schemes such as the Tarapoto Process on the Sustainability of Amazon forests, the Lepaterique Process and others) and are widely applied in local- and national-level monitoring and reporting, while being continually adapted to suit local, regional and national interests. Given that approximately 25% of forests in the developing world are community-owned or managed [1], an important question arises when merging the global dialogue on forestry principles with local-scale issues: To what extent can indicators derived for community forests and other bottom-up approaches in the tropics inform the development of social and economic indicators in British Columbia? Given the more advanced development of community forests in such countries, it seems likely that much can be learned from them, yet the regionalization of C&I development (caused by both geographical and language barriers) has tended to lead to C&I being developed in isolation. This project will examine the international experience, with particular emphasis on the way that community forests in the Neotropics have used regional C&I schemes. The central questions to be addressed are: To what degree are these socio-economic indicators locally relevant in a community forestry setting? Do they take into account local and community interests sufficiently? How adaptable are such indicators in taking into account local values and practices, such as long-standing forest management practices that may achieve the same objectives as the standards, or a landscape approach beyond the forest management unit, which may be more relevant to community forest practices? In areas with significant indigenous populations, how have the indicators been adapted to take the special interests and needs of indigenous groups into account, and how have the indicators been received and used by those indigenous groups? The geographical focus of the project will be on tropical Latin America, for reasons of language proficiency, existing field contacts and time and budget constraints. However, input will be received from a team member with extensive experience in community forest management in India and Pakistan, where both co-management and community-led forest management are widely used. We will draw on several case st ...
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