Forest Congress current events in

South Carolina

Please click here to access information about a roundtable session that took place at the South Carolina Forestry Association annual meeting in October 1996.


Tom Jewell reports that a statewide South Carolina roundtable convened in Columbia, SC on February 11, 1997. Prior to the meeting, participants expressed their level 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 results of the meeting were sent to everyone who had been invited to solicit any additional comments. The revised, final results will be presented to the organizations identified as being appropriate to deal with the identified issues.

The following is a summation of the considerations on the South Carolina principles. The principles are numbered based on the results of the first roundtable. Following the principle is the level of support, voiced by the participants of the second roundtable, indicated by green ("I am very comfortable with this principle"), yellow ("I am uncomfortable, but I can live with this principle"), and red ("I am uncomfortable and cannot live with this principle").

Principle 1: Scientific management principles will be based on sound research. (88% green, 12% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Present research is not always linked to management needs, and the time and dollars to develop it is not always available. Presentation of research results is not readily available or easily understood by all users.

Action Steps:

  1. User-friendly publications produced by Clemson Extension, SCFC, USDA/FS.
  2. Create an organization (similar to Georgia Forest Research Council) to fund and support practical forestry research.
  3. Partnerships must be encouraged and supported by private, public organizations.
  4. Survey research users to identify needs (Clemson University).
  5. Distribute information over Internet.

Principle 2: Public support and appreciation for sustainable forestry is promoted through education. (88% green, 12% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: There is a lack of a concerted approach to address the need for environmental and natural resource education in South Carolina.

Action Steps:

  1. The Governor's office should direct the State Department of Education to develop a comprehensive environmental education plan, and should provide guidelines for all other organizations to "buy into".
  2. SAF, SCFA, and landowners -- with or without various other organizations -- should provide opportunities to interface with the public through field trips.
  3. Formalize education of public school teachers and school boards about forests and forestry (SAF, Extension, Teaching KATE, PTL, Career Days, and SCFC).
  4. Bring key players together (via roundtables, field trips, etc.) To solve and build solutions to controversies.
  5. SCFA and SFI Consortium develop a natural resource dictionary of terms and videos.

Principle 3: We will recognize the importance of forests to humans. (94% green, 6% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: No problems.

Action Steps: None.

Principle 4: We will promote free enterprise to encourage integrity and acountability. (89% green, 11% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Excessive government laws and regulations foster cheating. Government regulations punish instead of motivate. No compensation for private landowner (monetary and non-monetary) to encourage ethical practices.

Action Steps:

  1. Sustainable Forestry Initiative education for loggers/forestry community.
  2. Develop incentives -- monetary and non-monetary -- and certification of products and loggers.
  3. Continue to strengthen compliance related to BMPs.

Principle 5: Sustainable forestry is promoted by consistent public policies. (88% green vote, 12% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Public policies and opinions, and the definition of sustainable forestry, are inconsistent and subject to change.

Action Steps:

  1. "Major players" convene an expert committee to agree on a definition of sustainable forestry.
  2. Implement our action steps on education.
  3. Improved research, especially on life cycle analysis of raw materials.
  4. Obtain legislative support for developing policy.
  5. Improved communication among interested parties to focus concerns through a single voice and single ear (such as SCFA).
  6. National, state and local levels focus on identifying and changing critical policies (conservation groups, industry groups, etc.).

Principle 6: Private property rights will be protected and balanced with responsibilities. (100% green vote)

Problem Statement: Irresponsibility of management can effect other ownerships, quality of life, etc.

Action Steps:

  1. Create incentives/penalties to promote responsible management and land use (DHEC, DNR, SCFA).
  2. Tax incentives to promote SPB salvage. Penalties if other landowners are adversely affected, etc.

Problem Statement: 1) Diversity among NIPF coupled with their lack of participation in broad policy issues leads to conflict or misinformation. 2) Policy making agencies must be more aggressive in seeking input from all stakeholders, i.e. county forestry organizations, etc. Create permanent relationship with these stakeholders.

Action Steps:

  1. DHEC can help solve some misinformation.

Problem Statement: Bad public policies force land owners into irresponsible actions.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop comprehensive forest policy to discourage public policies that promote urban development in rural areas.
  2. Discourage expansion of publicly subsidized infrastructures (sewer, roads, water) into rural areas.
  3. Restructure state and federal inheritance tax policies to allow land to remain in agri/forestry use (legislature, tax commission, SCFA).
  4. Empower local authorities to have input to develop environmental policies for their jurisdiction.

Problem Statement: Increasing population growth and mobility and it's direct and indirect results impact private property rights.

Action Steps:

  1. Incentive-driven, landscape-level planning.
  2. Ongoing education/information about process.
  3. County/state led efforts to develop incentives through partnership (government, private) efforts.

Problem Statement: Legislators and regulators rarely have direct experience managing land.

Action Steps:

  1. Decrease number of regulators.
  2. Decrease number of regulations.
  3. Combine agencies with natural resource responsibilities.
  4. Individual action by legislators.
  5. Responsible groups must make a commitment of time.

Problem Statement:An inflexible sense of one's "rights" can work against sense of community.

Action Steps:

  1. Education via groups like Timber Operations Professional (T.O.P.) program.
  2. Get owners involved in community issues (SCFC)
  3. Natural resources professionals should get involved in community and private owner groups.

Problem Statement: No definitions/consistency about community rights vs. private property responsibilities.

Action Steps:

  1. Courts will settle/define.
  2. Voluntary guidelines.
Problem Statement: Ignorance on both sides leads to extreme views.

Action Steps:

  1. Comprehensive education program for all children.
  2. Single forestry organization to spearhead environmental education (SCFA).
  3. Department of Education needs leaders with natural resources background/interests (Dept. of Education).

Problem Statement: There is a lack of consensus and compromise among diverse views regarding rights and responsibilities of landowners (not just private).

Action Steps:

  1. Work from bottom (local level) up instead of top down to define rights and responsibilities through a consensus land ethic. Someone needs to take the lead. Soil conservation districts, county landowners assn's, conservation groups, various agenci
  2. Educate the urban public via news media (USFS, NRCS, Extension Service, industry, state and national associations, user groups, others).
  3. Regional, watershed, or landscape level should be used in planning efforts that involve landowners and other stakeholders.
  4. More incentives that reward management for public interests.
  5. U.S. Congress and states need property rights laws that address the issue to clarify the rights of property owners.
  6. Transform laws impacting landowners into less regulatory structure (voluntary, incentives, brokered solutions).

Principle 7: We will manage public land for multiple use while ensuring biological diversity. (88% green vote, 12% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Don't have adequate information about current biological diversity on public lands or impacts of individual uses on bio-diversity.

Action Steps:

  1. Fund research and "real monitoring" on public lands, user fees, volunteers, in kind services and taxes on equipment for non-consumptive uses. (Similar to Pittman-Robertson) Lands from Universities-USFS, SCFC. DNR, PRT, U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Problem Statement: Rigid public land management schemes limit flexibility to respond to current issues.

Action Steps:

  1. Require periodic review of management policies with public input. Include input from other agencies and conservation organizations.

Problem Statement: Lack of general agreement on when you have achieved multi-use management bio-diversity.

Action steps:

  1. Develop performance standards for bio-diversity and multiple use for each broad category of public land (land management agencies, various use groups).

Principle 8: All sides of an issue have to agree to work together. All representatives should be of highest ethical caliber. A system of conflict resolution is needed. (88% green vote, 12% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Delete "highest ethical caliber." Real issue is conflict resolution and how to achieve. "Extremist" who are unwilling to enter dialogue use the courts to settle issues.

Action Steps:

  1. Build consensus rather than resolving individual conflicts as they crop up.
  2. Education will ultimately make consensus possible.
  3. Emphasize ongoing outdoor environmental education (private landowners association).
  4. Industry should monitor it's own advertising and grants.

The following is a summation of the considerations on the Seventh American Forest Congress:
Principle 4: Science-based information is accessible and understandable, distributed in a timely manner, and contributes to forest policy and management. (82% green vote, 18% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Information is not equally available to all possible users and especially small forest industry managers.

Action Steps:

  1. Establish clearinghouse for information.
  2. Train land managers how to find information.
  3. Utilize Internet and other technology transfer methods.
  4. Create incentives for researchers to distribute their information.

Problem Statement: New management information developed by private sector is not shared among all potential users.

Action Steps:

  1. Create incentives for them to share information, tax breaks etc., if they share research.
  2. Appeal to forest industry to share information that doesn't compromise their economic welfare.

Problem Statement: Information is not always practical and usable by NIPF.

Action Steps:

  1. Train land managers how to find source for information they need.
  2. Create advisory group of land managers to identify research needs and emerging issues.

Principle 5: Cohesive and stable policies, programs, and incentives should be available to allow forest owners and managers to sustain and enhance forests. (78% green vote, 22% yellow, 0% red)

Problem Statement: Over-regulation can be a disincentive. Values are constantly changing. Upper levels of industry politics no longer relate to lower ground levels.

Action Steps:

  1. Eliminate many environmental regulations.
  2. Consolidate involved agencies.
  3. Inventory all laws pertaining to natural resources by state.
  4. Endangered Species Act is a hindrance.
  5. Wean landowners away from depending on government.

Principle 6: All differences in goals and objectives of public, private, and tribal forest owners are recognized and respected. Forest owners, including the general public, recognize and embrace both the rights and responsibilities of ownership. All forest owners acknowledge that public interests (e.g., air, water, fish, and wildlife) exist on private lands and private interests (e.g., timber sales and recreation) exist on public lands. (83% green vote, 17% yellow, 0% red))

Problem Statement: Everyone has an opinion, and all goals and objectives are not necessarily worthy of respect.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop a land ethic that better defines rights and responsibilities of land ownership.
  2. Implement recommendations for education and research.
  3. Educate the public about land ownership rights and responsibilities.
  4. Clarify private property rights issues through state and federal legislation (currently too ambiguous).

Comments concerning the South Carolina principles:

  • SC Principle # 1 is worded poorly. What is "sound research?" Should read, "Based on the best research available at a reasonable cost, in a reasonable time."
  • SC Principle # 1 was confusing - suggest rewording, "Management principles will be based on quality research." We had a lot of variations on what "sound" meant at our table. "Sound" often means if you agree with it.
  • SC Principles # 4 is terribly worded. If it said, "We will promote a free enterprise system that encourages integrity and accountability," I would get right on it. In the future, make sure the writing is clear.
  • SC Principle # 7 of SC Forest Roundtable is essentially unachievable. Since we don't really know when we've achieved "multiple use" or "biological diversity" we don't know how to manage for it.

    Comments concerning the 7th American Forest Congress revised principles:

  • Principle # 2 of the 7th American Congress is meaningless. What does it mean to "achieve shared ecosystems?" We already have that.
  • Principle # 4 of the 7th American Congress is also meaningless. We already have a lot of forestry science, some of it is accessible and understandable, some of it isn't. It all probably contributes to forest policy and management. Is that good policy? Bad policy?

    General comments about the roundtable:

  • Still lacking diversity in the group. If we all look alike, it's easy to get consensus. No minorities, few women (the ones here represent non-consumptive groups/roles). I understand the minorities aren't in natural resource/sportsmen's groups, but that's probably a sign we need to recruit/expand. Still, we're a room full of white male foresters - not a crosscut of how people - our "general" public - think about what we do!!!! We may reach consensus here, but so what, if we don't represent a broad subsection of society.
  • I enjoyed this session. Everyone worked to get a consensus.
  • Next session needs to attact 3 or 4 major issues or principles in detail. Action plans with commitments from groups or individuals to implement.

    More information about the results of this meeting is available from Tom Jewell (see below) or the Forest Congress Information Center.

    South Carolina Forestry Association annual meeting, October 1996

    A related event that preceded the second South Carolina roundtable was the South Carolina Forestry Association (a group primarily composed of industry, private forest landowners, and equipment vendors) annual meeting, held October 30 - November 1, 1996. The group conducted a four-hour roundtable session as part of the meeting. Bill Bentley, former executive director of the Seventh American Forest Congress, gave a keynote address to the group. The 238 participants then prioritized sets of vision elements and principles synthesized from the first SC roundtable and the 7AFC. Finally, the participants split into five subgroups (communities, education, policy, management, and research) to list the principles that primarily apply to each category, identify local issues and possible solutions (i.e., next steps).

    The group ranked three vision elements and 24 principles. Each statement was scored by individuals using a three color ranking system:
    Green I am very comfortable with this statement
    Yellow I am uncomfortable, but I can live with this point or idea.
    Red I am uncomfortable and cannot live with this statement.

    The three vision elements considered were:

    South Carolina's forest should be managed as sustainable, diverse, healthy ecosystems.

    1.Level of

    Decisions should be based on scientific principles with regards for balancing private property rights and responsibilities, economic feasibility, and public needs, to obtain the highest and best use.

    1.Level of

    It is hoped that this vision will serve as a global model.

    1.Level of

    Of the 24 principles considered, six received more than 90% green rating, seven received between 80-90% green rating, five received between 70-80% green rating, four received between 60-70% green rating, one received between 50-60% green rating, and one received less than 50% green rating. More information about the results of this meeting is available from Tom Jewell (see below) or the Forest Congress Information Center.

    Contact: Tom Jewell, Public Affairs Forester, Westvaco, 180 Westvaco Road, Summerville, SC 29484, Phone: 803-851-4636, Fax: 803-821-4044.

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