Many Voices . . . A Common Vision

Volume 2, Number 2
March 1997


Forest Congress Legacy Committee Sets Course

The Forest Congress Legacy Committee held its first face-to-face meeting in February at the offices of the Society of American Foresters in Bethesda, Maryland.

The members of the Legacy Committee are committed to the vision for America's forests produced at the Seventh American Forest Congress and the inclusive, participatory process used to develop the vision. The Legacy Committee will provide oversight, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation to local and national Forest Congress follow-on activities. The group developed and is working on six specific activities for 1997:

  1. Identify and share tools and training resources.
  2. Identify key conferences and events in which Legacy Committee members can participate to promote the vision and process of the Seventh American Forest Congress.
  3. Present annual award(s) to recognize those working in the spirit of the Forest Congress to achieve the vision.
  4. Identify stakeholders who have yet to be brought into the process and make plans to include them.
  5. Devise specific means to measure the success of the Forest Congress and prepare an annual report.
  6. Inform urban stakeholders of the Forest Congress and develop the means to get them involved.

The Legacy Committee will direct the operations of the Forest Congress Information Center and the Information Center will provide logistical support to the mission, goals, and activities of the Legacy Committee. Looking ahead to 1999, the Legacy Committee tentatively plans to conduct a major assessment of what effect the Seventh American Forest Congress and follow up activities have had on forest policy and management in the United States. Please contact the Forest Congress Information Center for more information on the Legacy Committee

Diversity in Forest Congress Activities

The diversity of people and viewpoints represented in the Forest Congress process has been an important issue since planning for the Seventh American Forest Congress began two years ago. Increasing the range of forest stakeholders involved in the process remains a vital consideration if the Forest Congress activities now being devised and implemented are to lead to forest management and policies acceptable to everyone with an interest in America's forests.

Organizers of local and national Forest Congress initiatives have the important responsibility of determining who should be at the table and then making sure those identified participate. People with information, people with the authority and resources to act, and people affected by what happens from across the spectrum of viewpoints on forests should be encouraged to get involved.

A first step that makes this task easier is to form an organizing committee of diverse members whose contacts touch as many sectors of the universe of forest stakeholders as possible. Broad-based organizing groups also give everyone the opportunity to provide input into the details of the process to be used with the larger group. Inclusive participation at each step of planning and implementation yields stronger support for the eventual results of the process.

The Forest Congress Information Center can help your group reach out to stakeholders who should be part of your Forest Congress follow-up activities.

Forest Congress on the Web

Readers connected to the Internet who haven't checked out the Forest Congress homepage on the World Wide Web ought to drop in. The homepage contains news of the activities following on the Seventh American Forest Congress, extensive files on the background and results of the February 1996 Forest Congress meeting, and links to other forest resources on the Internet.

Page three of this newsletter shows what you'll see when you access the Forest Congress homepage [Included in printed version of the newsletter only]. Hypertext links to further information are underlined.

The Forest Congress homepage is updated on a continuous basis, so it's the best place to look for the latest news. Each issue of the newsletter Many Voices...A Common Vision is posted on the homepage as it's sent to press; if you'd rather read the newsletter on-line that on paper, please drop an e-mail to yff@yale.edu and we'll adjust our mailing list. Your suggestions as to how the Forest Congress homepage might be made more useful are also welcome. Happy browsing!

National Committees Update

The Communities Committee has been very active over the past few months. Several members of the Committee are serving on a task force formed by the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Michael Dombeck. The task force is to recommend how the Forest Service might use collaborative stewardship as a means of accomplishing ecosystem management. The Forest Service will utilize the Committee's contacts with affiliate groups to solicit input, and the Committee will serve as a focus group to review the initial recommendations drafted by the task force.

The Communities Committee plans to conduct about one dozen case studies of community-based forestry efforts to examine the links between community well-being and forest ecosystem health in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The Committee is also collaborating with other groups on some upcoming events, such as an American Forests workshop on community-based forestry in the U.S. that will be held later this year. Contact Lynn Jungwirth at 916-628-4206 for more information.

The Education Committee has moved ahead on developing an interactive homepage on the World Wide Web. The planned homepage will tap into existing forest education resources on the Internet. The Committee's efforts are being funded by the Berger Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. To learn more, contact Dennis LeMaster at 317-494-3590.

The executive board of the Society of American Foresters has agreed that the SAF will host the Management Committee in 1997. Consideration is now being given to specific on-the-ground management issues the Committee might address and the assistance the Committee might give to the other national implementation committees. Contact Bill Banzhaf at 301-897-8720.

The Research Committee is refining its proposal for improving the nation's forest research program. A draft report should be ready by late May, at which time it will be sent with a manual to all of the active local roundtables and interested collaborative groups. The manual will be similar to the guide for roundtables before the Forest Congress and will provide a recipe for a four to eight hour group discussion of the draft recommendations. The results of each dialogue will be incorporated into the final report, which will be distributed to the U.S. Congress, White House, state-level government, and all the roundtables and collaborative groups.

The Research Committee's work is being supported by the Berger Foundation, Boise-Cascade, Louisiana-Pacific, Sequoia Foundation, Union Camp, U.S. Forest Service, and Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation. The Committee will move to a new host organization in June 1997. Contact Bill Bentley at 860-653-3195 for more information.

Local Activities Update

It was incorrectly reported in the October newsletter that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is "taking the lead" on organizing a statewide roundtable. Rather, the NY DEC is facilitating meetings between forest stakeholders who are discussing how they want to proceed. The group is refining the focus of a proposed New York roundtable, and hopes to have a charter and operating procedures for the roundtable in place by early spring. Contact Bruce Williamson at 518-457-7431 to be put on the New York roundtable mailing list or for more information.

A statewide South Carolina roundtable convened in Columbia, SC on February 11, 1997. Prior to the meeting, invitees mailed in their levels of agreement with the vision elements and principles developed at the pre-Forest Congress South Carolina roundtable, and the six most highly supported principles developed at the Seventh American Forest Congress. These results were tallied before the roundtable session. At the roundtable, the participants worked in small groups to identify local issues associated with each principle, suggest possible action steps to address each issue, and identify relevant local organizations that might tackle each issue. The meeting results have been sent to everyone who was invited to solicit additional comments. The revised, final results will be presented to the organizations identified as being appropriate to deal with the issues. Contact Tom Jewell at 803-851-4636 for further information.

An organizing committee has been formed in Tennessee to determine how to take advantage of local interest in following up on the Forest Congress. The group met in October 1996 and January 1997, and is working with facilitation experts to develop a process that the committee and larger roundtable group can use to move toward agreements. The group envisions a comprehensive, multi-year effort that will bring all Tennessee forest stakeholders together to work on the state's forest issues. A concerted effort is being made to broaden the interests represented on the organizing committee to help insure that the full range of stakeholders are involved in the subsequent events. The group plans to meet again in early May 1997, by which time a charter and mission for the initiative will have been developed, and a grant proposal to solicit funding for the effort will be ready to send to donors. Contact David Ostermeier at 423-974-8843 for more details.

A steering committee of about two dozen people representing the range of forest stakeholder groups in Washington State began meeting in the summer of 1996 to carry on the Forest Congress process.

The steering committee first sent an opinion survey to everyone in Washington who attended the Forest Congress. Over three-quarters of the respondents said they'd had a good experience and support follow-up activities in the state. The steering committee is now working on four tasks which they plan to complete by mid-summer 1997:

  1. Collect information on the status of and key issues facing Washington's forest resources so all stakeholders have a common database from which to deal with the issues.
  2. Prepare a document describing the range of forest management practices used in Washington, and build a tutorial around this information.
  3. Identify forest research needs in Washington.
  4. Develop a strategy for conducting forest education and communications outreach, including the establishment of a framework to encourage more local groups to meet around these issues.

The idea of convening a Washington roundtable may be revisited after these tasks are completed. Contact Scott Marshall at 206-924-3677 for more information.

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

Publications of note

Forest Trust recently began publishing Distant Thunder, a bi-yearly newsletter for foresters engaged in the practice of sustainable forestry. Contact Forest Trust, P.O. Box 519, Santa Fe, NM 87504 for more information.

The Chronicle of Community is a new journal that "explores emerging and changing ideas of community in the western United States" and "the ways in which people living in a particular place are able to build upon their relationships with one another to seek the best long-term uses of the land that sustains them." A complimentary copy of the Chronicle can be obtained by writing the Northern Lights Institute, P.O. Box 8291, Missoula, MT 59807-8291.

Thanks to Our Supporters

The Forest Congress Information Center gratefully acknowledges the financial support it has received for its operations from Blandin Paper, Ford Foundation, Murray Pacific, Procter & Gamble, Sun Studs, Surdna Foundation, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service. International Paper Company has generously provided in-kind support by printing the current issue of Many Voices...A Common Vision, and printing and mailing the October issue.


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