Many Voices . . . A Common Vision

Volume 2, Number 1
October 1996


Local Groups Work to Make the Forest Congress Vision a Reality

This issue of Many Voices...A Common Vision leads off with a look at the wide range of exciting activities taking place across the country in the wake of the Seventh American Forest Congress. Action seems to have heated up with the arrival of the cool autumn weather!

Since the June newsletter, organizers in Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington have contacted the Forest Congress Information Center to report that they are planning to reconvene roundtables in their states. Other local activities that have occurred or been planned since the last newsletter include:

Alabama group moves ahead

As reported in the June newsletter, Forest Congress participants in Alabama have decided to devise a set of recommended revisions to federal tax laws that affect non-industrial forest lands and their owners. This was a priority next step identified at the pre-Congress Alabama roundtable and by Alabama participants in the Seventh American Forest Congress. A "Forest Landowners' Tax Council" composed of private forest land owners, environmentalists, and representatives of industry and academia has been formed. The group plans to delineate its recommendations by the end of November for presentation to relevant legislators in the upcoming session of the U.S. Congress. For more information, contact Ted Meredith at 334-343-0185.

Alaskans tackle spruce bark beetle

Forest Congress participants from Alaska have proceeded on several fronts following the Seventh American Forest Congress. The results of the Forest Congress were conveyed to the state's U.S. Congressional delegation through a series of briefings. The state chapter of the Society of American Foresters is planning to use Forest Congress principles in the development of a strategic plan for the control of the spruce bark beetle epidemic that is severely affecting millions of forested acres in south central Alaska. A series of Forest Congress-type roundtables involving a broad cross section of Alaskans is being planned to forge a broad partnership that can devise and support an action program to control the epidemic and restore the effected forests. For more information, contact John Sandor at 907-586-2497.

Indiana roundtables to reconvene

The committee that organized the two roundtables held in Indiana prior to the Seventh American Forest Congress has held several facilitated meetings and has decided to reconvene the roundtables so that the participants can determine how they want to apply the process and results of the Forest Congress to Indiana's forest issues. The Jasper, IN roundtable will reconvene on November 9, 1996 and the Wabash, IN roundtable will reconvene on November 16th. For more information, contact Ron Rathfon at 812-678-3401.

Iowa meeting considers next steps

The ninety people who attended the multi-state meeting of the Society of American Foresters' Iowa chapter on October 4 - 5 in Amana, IA heard of the process, results, and meaning of the Seventh American Forest Congress from speakers representing Forest Congress organizers and participants, professional foresters, industry, and environmentalists. The attendees then split into their state groups and generated an impressive list of local actions they feel can build on the momentum and enthusiasm coming out of the Forest Congress. Everyone stressed the importance of including as broad a range of forest stakeholders as possible in these actions and dialogues. Contact Brent Olson at 712-456-2924 for more information.

Montana teleconference/local action

Following the Seventh American Forest Congress last February, a 3 hour video teleconference linked eleven sites and over 200 people across Montana to discuss how the results of the Forest Congress might be applied to local forest issues. The session generated many ideas that are now being pursued by local groups. A similar video teleconference is in the planning stages in West Virginia (contact Al Steele at 304-285-1536). For more information about the Montana teleconference, contact Laird Robinson at 406-329-3316.

Among the Montanans who participated in the teleconference were twenty people who participated in the pre-Congress roundtable in Libby, Montana and who have continued to meet as the "Kootenai Forest Congress Follow Up Committee". The group is composed of people on several sides of the forest management debate who "had been at each other's throats" in the years prior to the Libby Roundtable, but who have learned to respect and work with one another to find common ground as a result of sticking with the Forest Congress process. In addition to convening a number of public meetings to discuss issues like fire management, the group examines timber sales on local National Forest lands, works through the issues specific to each sale to come to agreement within the group, then advises the Forest Service based on their agreement. The KFC Follow Up Committee has contacted the Secretary of Agriculture, the Montana delegation to the U.S. Congress, and the Forest Service to explain the goals of their group, state their frustration with continued "management by directive" from Washington, D.C., and express their hope that communities such as theirs will be empowered to work with agencies to affect the fate of the natural resources around them. For more information, contact Colleen Snyder at 406-293-8844.

New Mexico roundtable reconvenes

The New Mexico Forest Congress roundtable reconvened on July 30, 1996 at Santa Fe Community College. Following a summary of the results of the Seventh American Forest Congress for the benefit of those who did not attend it, the roundtable participants focused their attention on the relation of New Mexico's forests to local economic and community development. Special emphasis was given to low-impact means of forest utilization through workshops on wood certification, woodworking techniques, and cross-cultural research methods. Contact Rosemary Romero at 505-982-9805 for more information.

Statewide roundtable planned in NY

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is taking the lead on organizing a statewide roundtable to build on the Seventh American Forest Congress and establish a "sustainable dialogue" among forest stakeholders in New York. It is anticipated that the roundtable will bring the folks who participated in the three roundtables and the collaborative meeting held in New York prior to the Forest Congress together with many people new to the process. A planning meeting scheduled for mid-November will set the stage for the statewide roundtable. For information, contact Lois New at 518-457-9152.

Washington county comes together

A symposium focusing on the forest resources of Okanogan County, Washington will be held November 16, 1996. The organizers expect to attract about 200 people to the day-long event, including representatives of all of the major federal, state, tribal, and private local landowners. The objective of the symposium is to apply the Forest Congress vision to the important issues facing the forests of this north-central Washington county and agree on action steps to address these issues. Contact Sam Gehr at 509-826-3068 for more information.

Statewide Forest Committees Formed

Committees composed of people representing of the range of local forest stakeholders have been formed in Idaho, Georgia, Texas, and several other states. The Idaho Forest Congress Committee (contact Stephany Bales, 208-882-0507) has met several times and has decided to apply the Forest Congress results to the current revision being done to the plans of several local National Forests.

As reported in the June newsletter, the Georgia Forest Resource Council (contact Bob Izlar, 770-416-7621) focuses on a specific issue at each of its meetings, reaches agreement as to its stand on the issue, and relays its position to relevant authorities. For example, at their August meeting, the Council discussed the proposed regulation of prescribed burning in the Atlanta area and decided to petition for an exemption to allow prescribed burns for forest management similar to an existing exemption for agriculture.

The Texas Committee on Forest Issues meets on a regular basis in an effort to resolve conflicts before they lead to litigation. "Nothing like this has been done before in Texas" says Paul Risk, a member of the group, who can be reached at 409-468-2492.

Please contact the Forest Congress
Information Center with news of
activities in your local area!

Update on Stakeholder Dialogues Meeting

As reported in the June newsletter, the Yale Forest Forum, in cooperation with the Izaak Walton League, held a meeting in July 1996 to discuss the use of stakeholder dialogues as a technique for addressing specific forest policy and management issues. A number of topics for stakeholder dialogues were considered, refined and put into priority categories. Dialogues which are currently being developed and the groups developing them include:

  • Issues facing private landowners (state roundtables)
  • Forest health (Management Committee, Society of American Foresters)
  • FACA reform (Communities Committee)
  • Timber/wildlife relationships (Portland State University & other organizations)
  • Forest Research (Research Committee,Yale Forest Forum) A handbook for conducting stakeholder dialogues will be available from the Forest Congress Information Center in mid-November.

    Forest Congress Results Summary Available

    An addition to the many documents related to the Seventh American Forest Congress available from the Forest Congress Information Center is a free, four page summary of the results of the Seventh American Forest Congress. If you would like a copy of the summary, which originally appeared in the April 1996 issue of the Society of American Foresters' newsletter The Forestry Source, send a stamped, self-addressed envelop to the FCIC. Multiple copies of the summary can be obtained by contacting the Information Center.

    Two recent papers by William Bentley are also available from the Information Center:

  • Reflections from the Seventh American Forest Congress: Some Thoughts for National Forest Management
  • The Seventh American Forest Congress and Next Steps--Evidence of a Paradigm Shift?

    National Implementation Committees Update

    Five national implementation committees have been established to carry the vision of the Seventh American Forest Congress forward in the topical areas of forest Communities, Education, Management, Policy, and Research. The recent and planned activities of these committees is summarized below.

    The Communities Committee will hold its next meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on November 14 - 17, 1996. The meeting will focus on the connections between urban forest resources and community empowerment and development, and will give Committee members the opportunity to interact with local community organizers, neighborhood groups, and project implementation teams. The group will learn about the grassroots activities of Baltimore's Parks and People Foundation and the Revitalizing Baltimore project, which is a joint undertaking of the U.S. Forest Service and local agencies. The meeting will include tours of local project sites, a workshop on environmental justice, and discussion of how to better involve the full Communities Committee membership (currently about 170 people) in the work of the Committee. For more information about the Baltimore meeting, contact Sandra Hill at 202-645-7075. More information about the Communities Committee is available from Lynn Jungwirth at 916-628-4206 or on the Community Committee's World Wide Web homepage.

    The Education Committee will hold a strategy session on November 12 during the upcoming national convention of the Society of American Foresters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Committee is considering concentrating its efforts on two key activities to support improvements in forest education in the U.S.--i.e., raising money for selected, existing, high priority educational programs that deal with forest issues and supporting the further development of one or more existing educational homepages on the World Wide Web. Contact Dennis LeMaster at 317-494-3590 for more information.

    A broad-based steering committee has been formed to determine the direction to be taken by the Management Committee. The steering committee is considering what specific on-the-ground management issues the Management Committee might constructively address, what sort of assistance the Management Committee might be able to give to the other national implementation committees, and which organization would be the most appropriate host of the Committee. John Heissenbuttel of the American Forest and Paper Association is chairing the steering committee and will report its findings at the December meeting of the executive board of the Society of American Foresters, which is serving as the interim host organization of the Management Committee. For more information, contact Bill Banzhaf at 301-897-8720.

    The Policy Committee is moving ahead with its exploration of how best to carry the Seventh American Forest Congress vision and principles into the U.S. forest policy arena. Committee chair Perry Hagenstein has taken part in several meetings over the past few months that have considered the National Forest Management Act and other forest policy issues. The Pinchot Institute for Conservation, which is hosting the Policy Committee, is sponsoring a conference on November 19 - 20, 1996 entitled "Evolving Toward Sustainable Forestry: Assessing Change in U.S. Forestry Organizations" which will use the results of the Forest Congress as a basis for some of the discussions. The Policy Committee anticipates the pace of its activities will pick up following the November elections. Contact Perry Hagenstein at 508-358-2261 for more information.

    The Research Committee met in Portland, Oregon, in late September. The meeting reaffirmed that the committee should be a mix of researchers and users of science-based information. The committee began a diagnostic about what is working and what is not working in the nation's forest research system. Among the topics considered were the agenda for research, the mechanisms for transferring research findings, funding levels and sources, and organizational structures.

    Another meeting took place in Washington, DC in October which brought federal, university, industrial, and NGO research specialists together to discuss partnerships as a structural device to improve the targeting of forest research, the quality of results, and the quantity of available resources. The group also conducted a diagnostic of the total forest research system. The meeting was cosponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Pinchot Institute, and Yale Forest Forum.

    The next Research Committee meeting is scheduled for early January 1997 in Savannah, GA. Please contact Bill Bentley or Gary Dunning at the Forest Congress Information Center for details.

    News Briefs

    The World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development held its North American Public Hearing on September 30 - October 2, 1996 in Winnipeg, Canada. The Hearing provided a forum for forest stakeholders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States to participate in an open policy dialogue on local and global forest issues. The purpose of the North American Public Hearing and the four other planned regional hearings is to build an agreed-upon agenda for reshaping policies to safeguard the sustainability of the world's forests in the coming century. Contact Gary Dunning at the Forest Congress Information Center for more information about the WCFSD North American Public Hearing.

    The 8th National Urban Forest Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in September 1997. The theme for the conference will be "Cities By Nature's Design". For more information, contact American Forests at 202-667-3300 or refer to their homepage on the World Wide Web at http://www.amfor.org.

    Legacy Committee Formed

    The Forest Congress Legacy Committee has been formed and has begun its work as "Keeper of the Vision" developed by the Seventh American Forest Congress. The eighteen member Legacy Committee includes representatives of the national implementation committees, some members of the former Board of Directors of the Forest Congress, and individuals who participated in the February 96 Forest Congress gathering in Washington, D.C. The group, which represents the wide range of backgrounds and interests forest stakeholders bring to forest issues, will provide oversight, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation to local and national Forest Congress activities.

    The members of the Legacy Committee are:

    Greg Aplet Forest Ecologist, The Wilderness Society (CO)
    Bill Banzhaf Executive Vice President, Society of American Foresters (MD)
    Lynda Beam Tree Farmer, Savannah, GA
    Jim Brown State Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry
    Joan Comanor Deputy Chief for State & Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service (DC)
    Jane Difley President, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
    Jo Ellen Force Professor, University of Idaho Department of Forest Resources
    Sharon Haines Manager of Natural Resources, International Paper Company (GA)
    Sandra Hill Chief of Trees & Landscape Division, Government of the District of Columbia
    Mack Hogans Senior Vice President--Corporate Affairs, Weyerhaeuser Company (WA)
    Tom Isle Papermaker, Potlatch Corporation (MN)
    Lynn Jungwirth Director, Watershed Research & Training Center (CA)
    Maria Rivera-Maulucci Teacher, New York City Public Schools
    Marshall Pecore Forester, Menominee Tribe (WI)
    Lou Romero Facilitator, DeLaPorte & Associates (NM)
    Bryant Smith Community Forester, Baltimore Parks & People Foundation (MD)
    Larry Tombaugh Dean, North Carolina State University College of Forest Resources
    Laurie Wayburn Executive Director, Pacific Forest Trust (CA)

    To learn more about the Legacy Committee, please contact the Forest Congress Information Center at 205 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, phone 203-432-5117, fax 432-3809, email: yff@yale.edu


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