Forest Management-Criteria and Indicators
1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(UNCED) focused world attention on the importance of sustainable
forest management as a key component of sustainable development.
As a result of this international "Earth Summit," the United States
joined 144 other countries in adopting a non-binding Statement of
Forest Principles which recognized the importance of sustainably
managing all types of forests in order to meet the needs of present
and future generations.
UNCED, many nations began to consider how they would measure and
track their progress toward the goal of sustainability. These discussions
focused on the need to establish mutually agreed upon criteria and
indicators which would provide a framework for data collection and
evaluation and, to the extent possible, standardize reporting on
forest management at a national level.
1993, a United Nations committee convened an international seminar
in Montreal, Canada on the sustainable development of temperate
and boreal forest. This conference led the United States and nine
other nations to form the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators
for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and
Boreal Forest. This working group soon became known as the "Montreal
10 original Montreal Process countries met in Santiago, Chile in
1995 to endorse a statement of political commitment, known as the
"Santiago Declaration," along with a comprehensive set of seven
criteria and 67 indicators for the conservation and sustainable
management of temperate and boreal forest. This new set of criteria
and indicators added to the growing body of type-specific measurement
and assessment systems already underway through the Helsinki Process
in Europe and the International Tropical Timber Organization.
are now 130 countries engaged in activities related to criteria
and indicators. Montreal Process countries currently number 12 and
include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the Republic
of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, the United
States of America, and Uruguay. These countries cover five continents
and together represent 90 percent of the world's temperate and boreal
forests and 60 percent of all forest on the globe.
United States Forest Service has committed to work with State, local,
and other partners to use criteria and indicators to report on the
health of all forested landscapes across the nation. In addition,
the National Association of State Foresters, in a 1997 resolution
passed at their national meeting, endorsed the seven criteria established
by the Montreal Process.
Montreal Process criteria are distinguished from those developed
by other processes in that they recognize a fundamental connection
between forest and people. The criteria function on the assumption
that a nation cannot achieve forest sustainability without the support
and understanding of its public.
together, the criteria and indicators provide a mutual understanding
and implicit definition of what is meant by sustainable forest management.
They are tools for assessing national trends in forest conditions,
and they provide a common framework for describing, monitoring and
evaluating progress toward sustainability. It is important to note
that the criteria and indicators are not performance standards for
certifying management or products at any level.
Montreal Process countries identified the following seven criteria
as essential components in the sustainable management of forest
ecosystems (67 different indicators specific for each criteria were
Conservation of biological diversity.
Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems.
Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality.
Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources.
Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles.
Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic
benefits to meet the needs of societies.
Legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation
and sustainable management.
are envisioned as a large-scale reflection of public values- the
big picture that participating countries want to see on their forest.
Indicators would then provide the means for measuring these forest
conditions and for tracking subsequent changes. The indicators are
intended to be flexible elements of resource monitoring which can
be adjusted to provide the most accurate assessment of changing
environmental, economic and social conditions.
1997 the United States Forest Service published the First Approximation
Report For Sustainable forest Management based upon the Montreal
Process criteria and indicators. Some information was available
for most indicators, but data was completely lacking for others.
In many cases, data that was availiable had been collected only
in recent years making it impossible to determine trends, or data
had not been measured in all locations using consistent definitions
or methodologies. These data problems made it inappropriate or impossible
to draw conclusions.
Montreal Process criteria and indicators provide a source of reference
information for legislators, other policy makers, resource managers,
and concerned citizens. This information will present a comprehensive
overview of our nation's forest and provide common information for
further analysis and discussion about the sustainable use of our
forests for present and future generations. In addition, this project
will identify shortfalls in resource data and other areas that must
be addressed before we can assure the sustainablility of our valuable
Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators
1: Conservation of biological diversity
Extent of area by forest type relative to total forest area.
Extent of area by forest type and by age class or successional stage..
Extent of area by forest type in protected area categories as defined
by IUCNN or other classification systems.
Extent of areas by forest type in protected areas defined by age
class or successional stage.
Fragmentation of forest types.
The number of forest dependent species.
The status (rare, threatened, endangered, or extinct) of forest
dependent species at risk of not maintaining viable breeding populations,
as determined by legislation or scientific assessment.
Number of forest dependent species that occupy a small portion of
their former range.
Population levels of representative species from diverse habitats
monitored across their range.
2: Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems
Area of forest land and net area of forest land available for timber
Total growing stock of both merchantable and nonmerchantable tree
species on forest land available for timber production.
The area and growing stock of plantations of native and exotic species.
Annual removal of wood products compared to the volume determined
to be sustainable.
Annual removal of non-timber forest products (e.g. fur bearers,
berries, mushrooms, game), compared to the level determined to be
3: Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality
Area and percent of forest affected by processes or agents beyond
the range of historic variation e.g. by insects, disease, competition
from exotic species, fire, storm, land clearance, permanent flooding,
salinisation, and domestic animals.
Area and percent of forest land subjected to levels of specific
air pollutants (e.g. sulfates, nitrate, ozone) or ultra violet B
that may cause negative impacts on the forest ecosystem.
Area and percent of forest land with diminished biological components
indicative of changes in fundamental ecological processes (e.g.
soil, nutrient cycling, seed dispersion, pollination) and/or ecological
4: Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources
Area and percent of forest land with significant soil erosion.
Area and percent of forest land managed primarily for protective
functions, e.g. watersheds, flood protection, avalanche protection,
Percent of stream kilometers in forested catchments in which stream
flow and timing has significantly deviated from the historic range
Area and percent of forest land with significantly diminished soil
organic mater and/or changes in other soil chemical properties.
Area and percent of forest land with significant compaction or change
in soil physical properties resulting from human activities.
Percent of water bodies in forest areas (e.g. stream kilometers,
lake hectares) with significant variation of biological diversity
from the historic range of variability.
Percent of water bodies in forest areas (e.g. stream kilometers,
lake hectares) with significant variation from the historic range
of variability in pH, dissolved oxygen, levels of chemicals (electrical
conductivity), sedimentation or temperature change.
Area and percent of forest land experiencing an accumulation of
persistent toxic substances.
5: Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles
Total forest ecosystem biomass and carbon pool, and if appropriate,
by forest type, age class, and successional stages
Contribution of forest ecosystems to the total global carbon budget,
including absorption and release of carbon..
Contribution of forest products to the global carbon budget.
6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic
benefits to meet the needs of the societies
Value and volume of wood and wood products production including
value added through downstream processing.
Value and quantities of production of non-wood forest products.
Supply and consumption of wood and wood products, including consumption
Value of wood and non-wood products production as percentage of
Degree of recycling of forest products.
Supply and consumption/use of non-wood products.
Area and percent of forest land managed for general recreation and
tourism, in relation to the total area of forestland.
Number and type of facilities available for general recreation and
tourism in relation to population and forest area.
Number of visitor days attributed to recreation and tourism in relation
to population and forest area.
in the forest sector
Value of investment, including investment in forest growing, forest
health and management, planted forests, wood processing, recreation
Level of expenditure on research and development, and education.
Extension and use of new and improved technology.
Rates of return on investment.
social and spiritual needs and values
Area and percent of forest land managed in relation to the total
area of forest land to protect the range of cultural, social and
spiritual needs and values.
Non-consumptive-use forest values.
and community needs
Direct and indirect employment in the forest sector and the forest
sector employment as a proportion of total employment.
Average wage rates and injury rates in major employment categories
within the fores sector.
Viability and adaptability to changing economic conditions, of forest
dependent communities, including indigenous communities.
Area and percent of forest land used for subsistence purposes.
7: Legal, institutional and economic framework for forest conservation
and sustainable management
to which the legal framework (laws, regulations, guidelines) supports
the conservation and sustainable management of forests, including
the extent to which it:
Clarifies property rights, provides for appropriate land tenure
arrangements, recognizes customary and traditional rights of indigenous
people, and provides means of resolving property disputes by due
Provides for periodic forest-related planning, assessment, and policy
review that recognizes the range of forest values, including coordination
with relevant sectors.
Provides opportunities for public participation in public policy
and decision making related to forests and public access to information.
Encourages best practice codes for forest management.
(Dave Darr) Provides for the management of forests to conserve special
environmental, cultural, social and/or scientific values.
to which the institutional framework supports the conservation and
sustainable management of forests, including the capacity to:
Provide for public involvement activities and public education awareness
and extension programs, and make available forest related information.
Undertake and implement periodic forest-related planning, assessment,
and policy review including cross-sectoral planning and coordination.
Develop and maintain human resource skills across relevant disciplines.
Develop and maintain efficient physical infrastructure to facilitate
the supply of forest products and services and support forest management.
Enforce laws, regulations and guidelines.
to which the economic framework (economic policies and measures)
supports the conservation and sustainable management of forests
Investment and taxation policies and a regulatory environment which
recognize the long-term nature of investments and permit the flow
of capital in and out of the forest sector in response to market
signals, non-market economic valuations, and public policy decisions
in order to meet long-term demands for forest products and services.
Non-discriminatory trade policies for forest products.
to measure and monitor changes in the conservation and sustainable
management of forests, including:
Availability and extent of up-to-date data, statistics and other
information important to measuring or describing indicators associated
with criteria 1-7.
Scope, frequency and statistical reliability of forest inventories,
assessments, monitoring and other relevant information.
Compatibility with other countries in measuring, monitoring and
reporting on indicators.
to conduct and apply research and development aimed at improving
forest management and delivery of forest goods and services, including:
Development of scientific understanding of forest ecosystem characteristics
Development of methodologies to measure and integrate environmental
and social costs and benefits into markets and public policies,
and to reflect forest related resource depletion or replenishment
in national accounting systems.
New technologies and the capacity to assess the socioeconomic consequences
associated with the introduction of new technologies.
Enhancement of ability to predict impacts of human intervention
Ability to predict impacts on forests of possible climate change.
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