SEVENTH AMERICAN FOREST CONGRESS

Connecticut Pilot Roundtable


Location: University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Center, Haddam, CT

Date of roundtable: 12 & 19 July 1995

Sponsoring Organizations:

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
Forestry Division
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 Haven
Laura Jensen, Clinton


Number of participants: 55


Vision for America's forests in a generation or two:

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Comments roundtable participants had about the Vision
at start of second session on 19 July 1995

Principles to achieve this vision are:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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 compensated.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 rural forests.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 long-term goals.

  12. 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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