SAF Principles for a Planning Rule

Here’s a link to the Society of American Forester’s letter on the planning rule.

They started with some principles (I numbered them for the purpose of discussion):

An effective PR:
1) enables forest plans that are simple and efficient to prepare and amend to account for changing conditions, rather than overly prescriptive and onerous to prepare;

2) enables forest plans that reflect the aspirations of communities of place (i.e., local communities), communities of interest (i.e., groups interested in particular aspects of National Forest management regardless of their residence or direct use of the forest), and communities of use (i.e., groups of forest users);

3) enables forest plans that facilitate, rather than impede, on-the-ground project implementation;

4) provides clear criteria for determining whether projects are consistent with forest plans;

5) requires forest plans to describe the types of projects needed to restore habitats and achieve other plan goals, and the forest conditions under which such projects are needed;

6) requires forest plans to set realistic targets for production of commodities and ecosystem services upon which communities of place, interest, and use can rely;

7) establishes appropriate scale and requirements for species surveys, thereby reducing the need for project-level species surveys, because such surveys often provide little information regarding either the quality of the project or the species‟ status;

8 ) elevates the roles of resource monitoring and assessment at appropriate scales to evaluate achievement of forest plan objectives over time;

9) encourages forest plan amendments as needed to reflect changing conditions, rather than encouraging forests to allow their plans to become obsolete, whereby plan revisions require excessive effort and resources; and

10) enables forest plans that are flexible in the face of fluctuating Congressional appropriations and mandates, and responsive to emerging local/regional/national/global issues.

I like the idea of having principles; generally I like these principles (especially 1) although I think there might be some tension between 6 and 10 (another way of saying 6 is, perhaps, unrealistic). But then again, maybe principles should not be required to be realistic.

What do you think?

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