Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y092077

    Development of appropriate economic and social indicators of sustainable forest management
 
Project lead: Innes, John (University of British Columbia)
Contributing Authors: Innes, John L.; Hajjar, Reem; Allen, S.D.; Chandran, Ajith; Chen, J.; Gough, Angeline; Mathey, Anne-Helene; McHugh, A.; Nitschke, Craig R.; Paudel, Shyam K.; Singh, M.; Skrivanos, Pano; Waeber, Patrick O.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Description:
The principle change from the original project description is a decrease in the number of case study countries, in favour of increasing the depth of research in the remaining two countries. The team members have reassessed the merits of increasing research depth at the expense of breadth and have agreed that more could be learned from concentrating more time and effort within two Neotropical case study countries (namely, Brazil and Mexico), with an increase in the number of case study communities in each of these countries, rather than spreading efforts thin across three Neotropical countries. The project will still draw on information from other researchers in Bolivia, but will not have a field component there.

The BC Common Ground project has shown that there is great interest in the Province of BC in the development of techniques to describe whether forests are being managed sustainably. While methods to describe the environmental aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM) are well developed, social and economic indicators remain a challenge, particularly at the scale of the forest management unit. This is reflected in the Montreal Process criteria and indicators (C&I), which have five environmental criteria but only two social and economic criteria. The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers C&I are even more skewed, with five environmental criteria and one combined socio-economic criterion. Elsewhere, particularly in the Tropics, much greater attention has been paid to social and economic criteria and indicators, and the aim of this project is to utilize this knowledge and apply it to the BC situation.
A large number of C&I for SFM have been developed globally (following C&I schemes such as the Tarapoto Process on the Sustainability of Amazon forests, the Lepaterique Process and others) and are widely applied in local- and national-level monitoring and reporting, while being continually adapted to suit local, regional and national interests. Given that approximately 25% of forests in the developing world are community-owned or managed [1], an important question arises when merging the global dialogue on forestry principles with local-scale issues: To what extent can indicators derived for community forests and other bottom-up approaches in the tropics inform the development of social and economic indicators in British Columbia? Given the more advanced development of community forests in such countries, it seems likely that much can be learned from them, yet the regionalization of C&I development (caused by both geographical and language barriers) has tended to lead to C&I being developed in isolation.
This project will examine the international experience, with particular emphasis on the way that community forests in the Neotropics have used regional C&I schemes. The central questions to be addressed are: To what degree are these socio-economic indicators locally relevant in a community forestry setting? Do they take into account local and community interests sufficiently? How adaptable are such indicators in taking into account local values and practices, such as long-standing forest management practices that may achieve the same objectives as the standards, or a landscape approach beyond the forest management unit, which may be more relevant to community forest practices? In areas with significant indigenous populations, how have the indicators been adapted to take the special interests and needs of indigenous groups into account, and how have the indicators been received and used by those indigenous groups?
The geographical focus of the project will be on tropical Latin America, for reasons of language proficiency, existing field contacts and time and budget constraints. However, input will be received from a team member with extensive experience in community forest management in India and Pakistan, where both co-management and community-led forest management are widely used. We will draw on several case studies from community-managed forests in tropical Mexico and the Brazilian Amazon. These countries present an interesting and unique political and socio-economic situation in terms of forest resources management. 80% of Mexico’s remaining forests are village-owned properties, and the country is seen by many as having the most advanced community forestry sector in Latin America [2,3]. While Brazil has more recently begun its efforts in promoting community-based forest management, its current mixed experiences of successes and failures can provide valuable lessons to a similarly growing sector in British Columbia. Brazil has also developed national C&I for natural tropical forest management through a participatory process that the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) aims to replicate in other Latin American countries [4]. Grounded theory and content analysis will be conducted to determine where local priorities and interests lie in forest and landscape management (see methods section). This information will be used to critically evaluate the set of C&I and guidelines conventionally used to measure the sustainability of these forest practices.
Using these case studies to answer the above questions, we will be able to draw general conclusions from recently-developed and also better-investigated systems of socio-economic indicators used in community forestry settings in the Neotropics. Through a consultation process involving the BC Treaty 8 Tribal Association, First Nations located on the Yukon – BC border (Champagne-Aishihik and Teslin Tlingit) and possibly others with whom we are in the process of developing long-term working relationships but were unable to bring into the project in the time available for developing this research proposal (e.g., the Wet’suwet’en, and the communities (T’exelc, Tsq’escen’, Xats’ull/ Cm’etemc and Xgat’tem/ Stswecem’c) that share boundaries and interests as a collective called the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw), we will apply this information to the development of improved social and economic C&I in BC.

1] Molnar, A., 2003, Forest certification and communities, Washington, D.C., Forest Trends.
2] Bray, D. et al., 2003 in Conservation Biology, v. 17, p. 672-677.
3] Klooster, D., 2003, in Latin American Research Review, v. 38, p. 94-126.
4] ITTO, 2005, Brazil develops national C&I: Tropical Forest Update, v. 2005, p. 15-16.
Related projects:  FSP_Y081077FSP_Y103077

    Deliverables:

Executive summary (57Kb)
Abstract (63Kb)
research proposal (0.2Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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