SEVENTH AMERICAN FOREST CONGRESS
Connecticut Pilot Roundtable
Location: University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Center, Haddam, CT
Date of roundtable: 12 & 19 July 1995
Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Inc.
16 Meriden Road
Rockfall, CT 06481-2961
John E. Hibbard, Executive Director
University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System
P.O. Box 70
Haddam, CT 06438-0070
Robert M. Ricard, Urban and Community Forester
Department of Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Donald Smith, State Forester
Roundtable Organizing Committee members:
Ruth Cutler, Willington, CT
Steve Broderick, UCONN Cooperative Extension Service, Brooklyn
Carol Youell, Glastonbury
William Hull, Pomfret Center
Donald Smith, State Forester, Hartford
John Hibbard, CFPA, Rockfall
Penni Sharp, Northford
Tim Hawley, Southcentral Connecticut Water Authority, Middletown
Tim Fleury, UCONN Cooperative Extension Service, Hartford
Robert Ricard, UCONN Cooperative Extension Service, Haddam
William Bentley, Seventh American Forest Congress, New Haven
Bruce Larson, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, New
Laura Jensen, Clinton
Number of participants: 55
Vision for America's forests in a generation or two:
- America's forests will be at least as extensive and diverse as those which
existed in 1995, and they will be accessible to both urban and rural populations.
- These healthy, productive forests will be found on a mix of public and private
lands, and will range from preserves to forests managed within a scientific and
aesthetic framework. They will provide a wide variety of human and non-human
goods, services, and values in a manner that is sustainable and reinforces
- America's forests will be experienced and understood by citizens who have
learned to live in ecological, economic, and spiritual balance with the forests.
- The intimate relationship the American people have with their forests will
help to guide the personal, social, and political decisions they make which directly
or indirectly affect the forests. These decisions concerning the forests will be
reached through a process of consensus rather than confrontation.
- Americans will recognize and value the unique constraints and opportunities
presented by their local forests; for instance, in the coming century Connecticut's
forest land will be predominantly in private ownership, in contrast to many other
parts of the country. Americans will also acknowledge the role their forests have
in the regional ecosystem and its global context.
- America's twenty-first century forests will continue to provide Americans
with a tranquil retreat from their daily lives while they serve as a sustained source
of our nation's wealth.
Comments roundtable participants had about the Vision
at start of second session on 19 July 1995
- It is doubtful that Americans will ever have an intimate relationship' with their forests.
- The first sentence of the second paragraph should be changed to read ...and will range from
untamed preserves to industrial forests...'.
- The central role that education must play in the third and fourth paragraphs of the
statement should be stated explicitly. It was also suggested that these paragraphs be moved so
that they follow the opening paragraph.
- Condense the whole statement ("merge, merge, merge!").
- The ideas of communities within forests and the rural-to-urban forest continuum
should be incorporated into the statement.
Principles to achieve this vision are:
- GLOBAL CONTEXT: America's forests should be seen as a part of the global forest.
The forest policies and practices in the United States impact the forest policies and
practices in other parts of the world. Our forest policies should serve as an international
model for consistent maintenance of forest health and diversity. International research
should help guide both U.S. and international policies.
- FOREST POLICY: Forest policy should take into consideration both public and private
value systems, and should promote sound forest stewardship and long-term management
practices. The policy process should take into account the cost of public benefits, the
global impacts of policies, the appropriateness of governing and management structures,
and the implementation of the public's vision through non-legislative decisions. Policy
decisions should be based on scientific information.
- FOREST RESEARCH: A broad range of information collection and research initiatives
should be pursued in order to enable actions affecting the nation's forests to be based on
knowledge. Mechanisms must be developed to assure that there is adequate funding for
this scientific research. The basic aim of forest research should be to increase our ability
to manage forests on a sustainable basis.
- FOREST MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY: Our priority when managing
forest ecosystems should be to maintain their biological diversity, functions, and health
on a sustainable basis; by doing so, we acknowledge our obligation to future generations
to care for the land upon which they too will depend. Since forests are dynamic systems,
it is necessary to focus on forest processes rather than the presence or production of
individual components in the development of management approaches. We must devise
long-term, scientifically-informed planning processes that provide better means for
determining the equitable allocation of relative priorities among the various uses of a
forest (e.g., water, wood, wildlife, recreation, aesthetics), while keeping in mind the
ramifications that management decisions taken on one forest may have on others (e.g.,
strict preservation of one forest may increase production pressures on another).
- FOREST INDUSTRY: Industry should optimize its utilization (i.e., use and reuse) of
forest resources, and should encourage a more responsible primary processor work ethic
regarding land stewardship issues.
- PROPERTY RIGHTS OF FOREST LANDOWNERS: The property rights of forest
landowners must be balanced with society's need for the long-term, broad-based benefits
provided by forests. When the critical interests of society are in conflict with the interests
of the individual landowner, society's interests must prevail, but the individual must be
- ECONOMIC INCENTIVES AND FOREST LANDOWNERS: Forest policy should
recognize and reward the public benefits produced by privately owned forest lands
through the tax structure and/or other incentives. The cost of regulations should be
considered, and private landowners should be compensated when their rights are
diminished to achieve public benefits. Taxation policies should be broad-based and
taxation of forest land should reward sustainable management practices while allowing
landowners to realize immediate income based on proper management. Production as
well as preservation should be encouraged on undeveloped land for future generations.
With the right incentives, public policy can be fully utilized to ensure the conservation
and integrity of public and private forest lands.
- COMMUNITY-BASED FOREST MANAGEMENT: Communities must incorporate the
values of forest resources into land use planning decisions. They should develop
equitable solutions through an understanding of the history of past forest practices and
recognition of the future costs of land use changes that lead to loss of forests.
- URBAN FORESTS: The forests in America's cities and towns make important
contributions to the quality of life in these communities. Urban woodlands can play an
important role in educating the urban citizenry about larger ecosystem issues. Improving
the environmental and other living conditions in urban America will help reduce the
exodus of people from the cities, and thus decrease population pressures on suburban and
- THE HUMAN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FOREST: Americans from urban and rural
communities must have opportunities to experience nature in ways that enable them to
relate to the forest and inspire them to make personal lifestyle choices that have a positive
impact on environmental quality. Americans should recognize that people and their
activities are part of nature and that fundamental human values such as respect, reverence,
and humility should apply to their relationship to the Nation's forests. Our future is only a
vision; what is critical is how we feel, think, and act right now.
- COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIPS: Local participation and public/private partnerships
should be used to formulate trust and consensus in the decision-making process for forest
issues. These partnerships should encourage on-going, deliberate communication and
dialogue between a wide range of interests and governmental agencies in order to develop
- EDUCATION: Lifelong education of the American public on the complexity of forest
ecosystems and our dependence on them must be a national priority. The true costs,
benefits, and tradeoffs associated with different forest uses; the elements of forest ecology
and the interconnectedness of ecosystems; the renewable nature of forest resources if
properly managed; the recreational and spiritual values of forest resources; and the need
to engage in constructive dialogue to reach acceptable solutions to issues related to forests
should be among the focal points of this educational campaign. This breadth of direct
experiential and conventional education programs will lead to decisions and actions based
on a solid understanding forest ecosystems and societal needs.
For further information concerning the Connecticut Roundtable please contact:
- John Hibbard
- Connecticut Forest and Parks Association
- 16 Meriden Road
- Rockfall, CT 06481-2962
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