Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y093307

    Improvement of social, economic and other indicators of sustainable forest management and tools for their integration
Project lead: Innes, John (University of British Columbia)
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
This project creates criteria and indicator tools that aid in selecting indicators that represent the ecological, economic and social aspects of SFM in a viable and adaptive monitoring program. Particular emphasis is placed on social and economic indicators, as these continue to be the weakest area in criteria and indicator systems. The project involves widespread consultation (through online technology) and the research question “How do the values and priorities of various stakeholders, public groups, and First Nations affect the viability of the monitoring schemes they aim to create?”

The research question poses some major problems because of the dearth of indicators that may be suitable for analysis. Consultation through the creation of an online tool is important in order to gain new insight into the development and evolution of indicators across a variety of scales and circumstances. It is also a very useful tool in fostering communication and community around indicator development, especially for social and economic indicators, and may prove to be a catharsis for enhancing cooperation between SFM monitoring initiatives. However, though this tool may be extremely helpful, the research question cannot be examined without further understanding of how values and priorities affect indicator selection and target setting processes and impact monitoring system viability.

For 2008/2009, the initial research question will be honed using qualitative methods of eliciting values from a variety of typical stakeholders in an indicator selection process. A more sufficient research question is “How do the values and priorities of various stakeholders, public groups, and First Nations affect trade-offs in the monitoring schemes they aim to create?” The analysis of viability is linked to trade-offs because if the target values for indicators in the suite cannot be met simultaneously, then the monitoring scheme is not viable. By assessing trade-offs, we hope to learn more about how target values compete and compliment each other. The trade-off assessment is a question of values and the model will weight common values in sustainable forest management in order to assess where key trade-offs must be made in order to make the monitoring system viable. The actually decision in those key trade-offs will not be made by the model; only a group of informed stakeholders can make that determination.
This work will build on previous research conducted by the Sustainable Forest Management Lab on criteria and indicators of SFM in British Columbia (Hickey and Innes, 2005; McHugh et al. 2005; Gough et al, 2006) and compliments research by Dr. Ron Trosper on Aboriginal values in SFM.
The online technology in question is the new Sustainable Forest Management Indicator Database, currently in its review stage, at The database stems from the research conducted by the Common Ground Steering Committee, the Forest Research Extension Partnership (FORREX) and the University of British Columbia.
Related projects:  FSP_Y071307FSP_Y082307

Executive summary (72Kb)

Updated August 16, 2010 

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