A Canadian Whale? A Vancouver Canucks fan? Drink Labatt’s blue? Smoke du Maurier’s at a Tim Horton’s? Other clues….
I spent part of last week at a workshop focused on “Integrating and Applying Conservation Science for Transboundary Coastal Temperate Rainforests.” Basically a lot of intense time thinking about the Tongass in Southeast Alaska and the Mid-to-North Coast of British Columbia (including the Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii, etc.).
I was struck by how similar the discussions were to those here on the blog. People on both sides of the border are struggling with so many similar planning, management, conservation, and community issues. Lots of the same stuff, but in a much different governing context.
One of the most obvious themes of the workshop is the importance of boundaries in forest management and conservation. That this place is ecologically connected is beyond question. It is collectively the largest temperate rainforest in the world. The region also faces some similar threats, and not just those from the “timber wars” that have long characterized the region.
Similarities and connections notwithstanding, the region is dominated by boundaries. Consider just two. First, there is the obvious international boundary. So strong is this demarcation that is has impeded the sharing of information and makes it difficult to learn lessons from one another. The workshop was designed to start chipping away at this problem.
Another boundary is that between terrestrial and marine conservation. One of the things making the Tongass so different (and special) compared to other national forests is its marine interactions and context (an archipelago). Same goes for coastal/island BC. Take, for example, the fascinating relationship between salmon and forests (a compelling story about why we need more holistic, integrated planning: background on the “salmon forest project” and associated EquinoxSalmonArticle). Despite these interactions, approaches to protected areas most often focus on terrestrial reserves, and ignores the marine.
There are other boundaries as well, from disciplinary to professional that play out in sometimes baffling ways. Of course, a lot of this is old ground, and we don’t need to re-hash all the ecosystem management stuff of the past. But the situation does raise a couple interesting questions from a forest planning standpoint, including:
1) Does an “all-lands” approach (as articulated by the USFS in its planning process) necessitate “due consideration” of adjacent lands in Canada? (The NOI states that “plans could incorporate an “all lands” approach by considering the relationship between NFS lands and neighboring lands. The threats and opportunities facing our lands and natural resources do not stop at ownership boundaries.” 74 Fed. Reg. 67,169.
2) Are there examples of integrated protected lands/marine areas that are instructive from a wastershed/planning perspective? (The NOI states that “land management plans could emphasize maintenance and restoration of watershed health…”.
I thought some of our faithful readers and contributors might be interested in attending the Place-Based Forest Agreements & Laws Symposium, to be held in Missoula, Montana on June 8th and 9th.
I’ve teamed up with the National Forest Foundation to organize the event. We have invited representatives from the following initiatives to Missoula:
- Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership Proposal (Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest)
- Three Rivers Challenge (Kootenai National Forest)
- Blackfoot-Clearwater Landscape Stewardship Project (Lolo National Forest)
- Clearwater Basin Collaborative (Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests)
- Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection, and Jobs Act of 2009
- Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act (Lewis and Clark National Forest)
- Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (Colville National Forest)
- Lakeview Stewardship Group (Fremont-Winema National Forests)
- Four Forest Restoration Initiative (Arizona)
- Alabama Forests Restoration Initative
- Wild Rivers Master Stewardship Agreement between the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Lomakatsi Restoration Project and Siskiyou Project (Oregon)
- Montana Forest Restoration Committee
- Wallowa Resources (Oregon)
We’ve confirmed most speakers and will have things settled by the end of the week hopefully.
The plan is to learn more about these initiatives and have representatives answer questions posed by attendees and organizers (the latter written with feedback provided by USFS officials, interest group representatives, congressional staffers, and others). Plenary sessions will be followed by smaller, more focused breakout sessions where we’ll try to have more participation and open-discussion.
Here is the official invite with registration link:
The National Forest Foundation and the Bolle Center for People and Forests at the University of Montana invite you to join us in Missoula on June 8 and 9, 2010 for the Place-Based Forest Agreements & Laws Symposium. We look forward to an engaging discussion around the challenges, strategies, solutions-development and achievements of landscape-scale stewardship initiatives on National Forest lands.
Throughout the country, divergent interests are collaborating about how they would like particular forests to be managed. Many of these proposals include provisions related to forest restoration, economic development, wilderness designation, and funding mechanisms, among others. Approaches include state-level principles, memorandums of agreement regarding how collaborative groups and federal agencies work together, landscape assessments that lead to on-the-ground work, and place-based legislation. Each initiative is different in significant ways, but all are searching for more durable, bottom-up, and pro-active solutions to national forest management.
With so much happening so quickly we believe is the time to bring people together in a symposium to assess the big picture and help identify common problems and possible solutions. We invite you to join us for a two-day event focused on place-based, landscape approaches to forest stewardship. In addition, we encourage you to forward this invitation to others who you think might be interested in participating.
Registration for the symposium is $100.00. We are planning an event that mixes plenary sessions with break outs to explore specific issues in more depth. We plan to summarize the discussions and ideas in a synthesis paper following the event.
For further information and to register, please go to http://nff.wildapricot.org. I recommend you bookmark this site for future reference, as we will continue to update the site with further information. We will soon be posting background documents about each of the landscape-scale stewardship initiatives that will be presenting at the Symposium.
Thank you, and we hope to see you in Missoula in June!
In our discussion of where decisions are made with regard to public lands, there is a tension between those who feel that local concerns and interests should be preferred and those who feel that national concerns and interests should be preferred.
George Hoberg of University of British Columbia, argues here that nationalizing issues was and is a strategy of environmental groups (e.g., roadless today) – that the legalization and nationalization of issues have become paramount in US forest policy.
In Chapter Two of One Third of the Nation’s Land, there is a categorization of publics related to public land policies. The categories are:
1) “the national public: all citizens, as taxpayers, consumers, and ultimate owners of the public lands are concerned that the lands produce and remain productive of the material, social, and esthetic benefits that can be obtained from them.
2) the regional public: those who live and work on or near the vast public lands, while being a part of and sharing the concerns of the national public, have a special concern that the public lands help to support them and their neighbors and that the lands contribute to their overall well-being.
3) the Federal Government as sovereign: the ultimate responsibility of the Federal Government is to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare and, in so doiig, it should make use of every tool at its command, including
its control of the public lands.
4) the Federal Government as proprietor: in a narrower sense, the Federal Government is a landowner that seeks to manage its property according to much the same set of principles as any other landowner and to exercise normal proprietary control over its land.
5) state and local government: most of the Federal lands fall within the jurisdiction limits of other levels of governments, which have responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of their constituents and, thus, an interest in assuring that
the overriding powers of the Federal Government be accommodated to their interests as viable instruments in our Federal system of government.
6) the users of public lands and resources: users, including those seeking economic gain and those seeking recreation or other noneconomic benefits, have an interest in assuring that their special needs, which vary widely, are met and
that all users are given equal consideration when uses are permitted.
The Commission in each of its decisions gave careful consideration to the interests of each of the several “publics” that make up the “general public.” to the best of its ability, reflect all of the interests of the general public.
We, therefore, recommend that: In making public land decisions, the Federal Government should take into consideration
the interests of the national public, the regional public, the Federal Government as the sovereign, the Federal proprietor, the users of public lands and resources, and the state and local governmental entities within which the lands are located in order to assure, to the extent possible, that the maximum benefit for the general public is achieved.”
It is worth reading the whole discussion in Chapter Two found here. It is certainly a more nuanced view than the idea that each person in the US has equal say over what happens on public lands. In this light, place-based legislation can, perhaps, be seen as an attempt to rebalance the power that has shifted to the courts and to national groups.
John Rupe and I spent a day last week in Rapid City, South Dakota for a public meeting on the new planning rule, and also for a meeting of the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board.
It was an interesting experience for me to start with the Science Forum, the National Roundtable in DC, then to Denver, then to Cheyenne for a meeting with government officials, then to public meetings there and in Rapid City. By listening to the similarities and differences expressed in the different kinds of places, I think I am starting to understand better the concerns which have led to place-based legislation. More on that later.
We heard the story from our Regional Forester about the White Mountain Forest having had an advisory committee until they were dispensed with by Jimmy Carter..whereupon they continued to meet and the forest supervisor continued to meet with them.
Checking for other forest advisory committees, I found this link to the 1977 Bend Bulletin describing the disbanding of the Advisory Boards. Maybe there is some more history as to why they were disbanded. It appears the forest supervisors and the public found them useful.. it’s a bit of a mystery (perhaps our more historically-oriented readers could help here.)
But one thing we did find out. There were a wide variety of interests at our planning rule roundtable in South Dakota, but there was general agreement that the Black Hills Advisory Board was useful. Here’s the webpage for the Advisory Board. The Board is not just about forest planning, though, it addresses the myriad of micro to megascale issues related to the forest.
One thought was, if you had advisory boards, that some forests have grown too large (through reorganizations) to be addressed in a meaningful way, and then you might need more than one advisory board per administrative unit.
What do you think? Should advisory committees for each forest be required or encouraged in the new rule?
P.S. There are many amazing photos of the Black Hills National Forest, as well as documents, audio and video, published here.
As we have been following place-based bills, here is a letter from Earthjustice on the Tester Bill (via the Clark Fork Chronicle).
EPA is sponsoring a video contest to “explain rulemaking and win $2,500.” EPA says that “government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity your alarm clock uses, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.”
Get your video uploaded to YouTube by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, May 17, 2010. Better avoid the type of video the government bars from your morning news.
We are working on a presentation for the University of Colorado Law School summer conference on the need for a new land law review commission. The conference program is located here.
Our group has been assigned Chapters 3, 4 and 13 of the document “One Third of the Nation’s Land” the report of the previous Land Law Review Commission in 1970. It can be found here. The recommendations from the chapters can be found in this summary of recommendations.
Here are the questions we were given:
1 ) Given the recommendations, to what extent have they been followed, and how the circumstances may have changed since 1970?
2) Specific questions
1. Should the agencies zone for dominant uses as recommended in the report?
2. What is working and not working about multiple use and sustained yield in the agency planning process?
3. In a sense, the PLLRC recommended adding environmental quality as a recognized multiple use along with timber, grazing, mining, recreation, etc. Should the agencies expand their traditional understanding of multiple use to include environmental quality and the full suite of ecosystem services provided by the environment?
In our conversations on this blog and at the planning rule roundtables, the concept of multiple use seldom comes up. I would be interested in your ideas as to why that is the case, as well as your responses to the other questions.
We have had a number of discussions about collaboration and the right mix of communities of interest and communities of place.
Here’s a real world example, the National Forest Advisory Board for the Black Hills National Forest. Here’s a link to their charter.
They incorporate many of the concepts we have discussed, including being advisory beyond planning. Here’s the mix:
OFFICERS AND MEMBERSHIP
a The membership of the Board shall consist of not more than 16 people, each of whom will represent a particular interest or point of view. The committee shall be representative of the Black Hills community interests and fairly balanced. Membership
shall be representative of the interests shown in the following three categories:
(1) Five persons who—
(a) Represent economic development;
(b) Represent developed outdoor recreation, off-highway vehicle users, or commercial recreation;
(c) Represent energy and mineral development;
(d) Represent the commercial timber industry; or
(e) Hold a Federal grazing permit or other land use permit within the area for which the committee is organized.
(2) Five persons representing—
(a) Nationally recognized environmental organizations;
(b) Regionally or locally recognized environmental organizations;
(c) Dispersed recreation;
(d) Archaeology and history; or
(e) Nationally or regionally recognized sportsmen’s groups, such as anglers or hunters.
(3) Six persons who hold—
(a) South Dakota state-elected office or elected-officer’s appointee;
(b) Wyoming state-elected office or elected officer’s appointee;
(c) South Dakota or Wyoming county- or local-elected office
(d) Tribal government-elected or -appointed office;
(e) A position as a South Dakota State natural resource agency official; and (f) A position as a Wyoming State natural resource agency Official.
What do y’all think of this mix?
It’s wonk heaven- forest plans, Roadless and the Tester bill in one article!
I added Roadless as a category for this blog.
Community leaders given a chance to comment on forest planning Tuesday during a regional roundtable in Juneau said they want more control over decisions made on public lands surrounding their towns.
The inability of the U.S. Forest Service to get projects through its system, or even make a plan to change the system, is hurting Alaska’s rural communities that depend on the forest for livelihoods and sustenance, roundtable attendees said.
“The Forest Service has an obligation to see that it helps keep local communities alive,” Petersburg Community Development Director Leo Luczak said, adding that timber revenues have fallen to such lows that “communities are dying.”