University of Montana Litigation Cost Case Study

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Here is a link to a case study by Todd Morgan and John Baldridge of BBER. I have to thank them for at least attempting to quantify the bucks that we spent when I worked for the Forest Service.

But what I think is really interesting is the reporting of this study in the Missoulian here.

First of all, the source of funding is in the title. Now that’s an interesting approach, and I think that it’s pretty unusual. But the Forest Service funds lots of research and other kinds of studies.. it even funded an administrative study on place-based efforts by Martin Nie of University of Montana.. and about a zillion other projects. In an organization as diverse as the Forest Service, I don’t know if “funded by the Forest Service” carries any meaning.

However, we also know that some studies are funded by environmental organization, folks like Headwaters and even Pew has funded studies that focus on one point of view. Yet most of the news stories I’ve found do not spend the first two paragraphs talking about the inclinations of the groups funding the study. I don’t think it’s a bad idea.just think that if folks are going to do it, they should do it consistently.

The reporter also interviewed Michael Garrity who made a series of claims. Now I think that perhaps every news article about a study should include someone who disagrees with it. There are a couple of problems though, with that. The first is that academics seldom question each other in print, which decreases the pool of available people. Then you could get people like me but if I were critiquing something my tone would be too civilized to make good press. I don’t know what the answer is ..

Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, a Helena-based organization that has sued to stop many timber sales in the state, didn’t put much stock in the report.

“The Forest Service loses money on almost all of their timber sales, almost $1,400 per acre, so it never makes sense to me how stopping the government from losing money costs money,” he said. “I can’t be any more straightforward than that. The (BBER) gets a lot of money from the timber industry, so I guess they are just doing what they are getting paid to do. This report is not in any published research journal or anything. They’re making their funders happy. There is no academic credibility behind that report at all.”

Sharon’s comments: EEK…ghosts of the below-cost timber sale controversy! Maybe someone out there can quote some published figures on that? I would bet different people include different things and come up with different numbers. However, my point is that everything the Forest Service does costs money.. duh.. so if you increase the costs above what they would otherwise spend, then it costs them more. (A + B)>A.

Let’s take an example- a ski area expansion. If you litigate it and the litigation costs are rolled into the cost of administering the permit, then it costs more. Or perhaps a campground or recreation road. I don’t get this logic.

Also, if “not published in a research journal” means “no credibility” well then…some topics are not popular in “research journals”, and some points of view are not popular. I would love to think that editors and reviewers are open-minded, interested in a wide range of topics and practical things that are useful to people, and objective, but peer-reviewed articles have shown that this is not the case ;).

Garrity, who says he is an economist by training, said the report makes no mention of the negative environmental effects of timber sales or the positive effects to taxpayers of stopping a timber sale.

Thanks to the High Country News for being more specific about Mr. Garrity’s economics pedigree here. I’m not critiquing his background, shoot- he has more than I do (note: some of my favorite people to work with and clearest thinkers have been forest economists).

My critique of his comment is that I thought the question the study was addressing was ” how does litigation affect the costs?”. Not “should we have timber sales based on a cost-benefit (social, economic, environmental) analysis?”
. He says “the positive effects of stopping a timber sale”. But many (most?) aren’t actually stopped, just dragged out and analyzed more over time. You would have to examine the probability of winning (according to some FS colleagues it’s a “crapshoot”) times the amount of money saved or spent. It would be kind of nice to have a table for the public posted that showed for the last 10 years, key characteristics of the project, was it collaborative? who sued, if they appealed and the ultimate date and size of project finished. Ah.. the People’s Database.

“Obviously, I have my biases, but Congress appropriates money (to the Forest Service for logging), it’s very clearly a subsidy, so anything that reduces that subsidy is a good thing,” he said. “There’s also a lot of timber sales that keep getting delayed because there isn’t a demand.

Congress appropriates money for recreation also, so if we have fewer campgrounds that must be a good thing..

“I checked yesterday, and the price of lumber is down 26 percent for the year. The housing industry really hasn’t recovered yet from the recession. To say delaying a timber sale costs money, it’s hard to take that seriously because there’s a lot of timber sales sitting out there they haven’t cut because there’s not a market for the timber.”

I’m not an expert on trends in Montana today (would appreciate input from some). And logically people still need wood for things, regardless of how the needs compare to before the recession.

Again, I think it’s a great idea to have an open discussion whenever a study comes out. The opener the better!

21 Comments

  1. Hi Sharon: You’re obviously aware of the fact that Mike Garrity taught environmental and natural resource economics at the University of Utah from 1992-1998, right? Wait, maybe not.

    And, Sharon, you do know that Todd Morgan, the author of the case study, actually wrote in a comment on New West a few years ago “I am not an economist and have never claimed to be one,” right?

    My goodness, certainly if you are going to make part of your story (wait, is this another AWR witch-hunt?) about “economics pedigree” you looked into these facts about the backgrounds of Mr. Garrity and Mr. Morgan, right Sharon?

    • Thanks for the helpful info…I was unable to easily find a bio for Mr. Garrity that included much..maybe you know where one is?

      I didn’t bring up Morgan’s economics pedigree because it wasn’t mentioned in the article.

      • Hi Sharon. I simply did a google search on a computer with Mike Garrity’s name and the term economics in it. Also, I did notice that you failed to bring up Mr. Morgan’s background, even though he was the author of the economic study, and instead decided to focus most of your article on Mr. Garrity and his background, which ironically is in economics. Was I surprised by any of this? Nope.

        • So I did a Google search on Garrity and the term biography, which generally works to find items of interest. Again I didn’t address Morgan’s because it didn’t come up in the news article.

  2. Right, the same Mike Garrity that’s running the group suing to stop CLEARCUTS over on east Kook on the KNF right about now. Big project, little work area, only clearcuts might be some LP or full-mort stands.
    One doesn’t have to be an economist to understand economic concepts. And there are more than one school of thought — from the Chi school to the Czechs to the Keynesians to the Marxists.
    The bottom line is, the economics of litigation are in the opportunity cost. The entire point is to burn up the time value of any investment. Delay Keystone until the banks that lent the money for the steel foreclose and scrap it. That discourages the next proposal. Same deal with endless delay. Interrupt the cycle, move the payoff on the investment far into the future to where it becomes smarter to simply not make the attempt.
    The time factor also enters into the fire arena. What better way to scare away the evil capitalists than to burn the capital? Remember the accusations in 1994 that loggers had set fires to get wood? Which led to raping the burn victim from Andy Kerr? There’s no more effective means of zeroing out the capitalist interest in forestry than burning merch wood to a krisp, then fighting the salvage until it’s checked into rot, thereby denying any chance of Tillamook-style replanting out of the proceeds from the salvage, meaning the next forest will start slow (if at all) and might start in less-valuable species on poor spacing so it NEVER interests a logger ever again.
    Now — do I understand economics well enough to expound upon the subject? Yes, I do.

  3. The discussion brings back memories of the below – cost sales issue when I was in our National Headquarters in the late 1970’s. The issue started when the Administration attempted to re-do the Forest Service budget and emphasize funding resource areas that produced revenue and de-emphasize resources that did not. In an effort to explain the issue the Forest Service chose to develop a detailed timber sale reporting system that attempted to assign economic values to jobs, individual wildlife, recreation visits, etc. The discussion only intensified. The real issue should have been focused on the desired condition of the forest communities. Timber sales are tools to accomplish healthy, diverse forest conditions, and should not be the driving goal. We need to focus management on forest conditions not what we can take from the forests. Once the goal is established for each community, a below-cost sale may be the most cost-efficient method of accomplishing the desired treatment. Unfortunately, today’s discussion is still focused on economics rather than forest condition. Products from the forest need to become the by-product of proper management, not the GOAL!

    • “Products from the forest need to become the by-product of proper management, not the GOAL!”

      Well, let me use one of my old Ranger District’s ASQ stats.

      1988 65 million board feet
      1989 45 million board feet (reduced due to “New Perspectives”)
      1993 15 million board feet (reduced due to CASPO)
      1999 2.2 million board feet (reduced due to Sierra Nevada Framework)
      2004 5.5 million board feet (increased due to SNF amendment)
      2014 2.2 million board feet (reduced back to original SNF numbers, due to litigation)

      Oh, how the “by-products” have dwindled, eh?

  4. “Products from the forest need to become the by-product of proper management, not the GOAL!”

    I agree with you, Brian, but I suggest that, on some fraction of USFS lands, timber ought to be the goal, as long as that production is sound forestry, in which case other resources are managed, too, but in the context of a “working forest.” A valid desired future condition for, say, 15% of my local National Forest might be a mix of stands aged zero to 100. These lands would provide much-needed early seral habitat and much-needed timber for log-starved mills, and the jobs that goes with that work. On other areas, wildlife habitat might be the main goal. In others, recreation. That satisfies the multiple-use mandate for these lands and moves toward a better balance of resource management to meet that objective.

  5. I was at Forest Service listening session about changes to the Northwest Forest Plan and was having a good discussion about timber harvests with a fish biologist, environmentalist. His comment was, “show me the science” for timber harvesting. I can understand his viewpoint, but I was thinking to myself, It’s not all about science, it is about also about the how to use to the resource for making things. (I was also thinking I need the wood today and it’s going to be years before this process helps any.)
    The environmental community needs to publicly recognize that the NEPA process, fear of ligation on the part of the Forest Service and BLM has resulted in making timber sales very expensive and time consuming. Not to mention that costs of litigation once a sale is appealed. It has also resulted in, when timber is finally put up sale, in sales that are very large. This is said to be more cost efficient for the Forest Service after years of analyses of the sale area. This usually means less competition at the time of sale, resulting in lower returns to the taxpayer.
    I see where there was an article in the Washington Post about how wildfires might be contributing to global warming. What do you know.

    • What’s interesting to me is that he felt comfortable asking that question. National forests were supposed to provide these things..recreation grazing and so on based on contessional intent not based on what scientists tell us us “science.”

    • That ologist still could not wrap its head around the fact that science operates in a social context. The science valued most by society is that which provides value in return — Science which improves the human condition is revered by those pesky humans. Science which negatively affects the human condition, or is perceived to do the same (warmunism, for example) is viewed with other than reverence.

  6. I’ll answer the tired “below cost timber” sale rhetoric with my usual response: “why does the State of Montana DNRC timber sale program make $2.00 in revenue for every $1.00 in cost while the USFS supposedly loses money.” I wish Todd Morgan and BEER would do an analysis of that (by the way…Todd and BEER are pretty damn respected). Actually…the “timber sale” component of a Montana USFS “timber sale project” can and do make money (have a positive PNV). The PNV’s for every USFS timber sale “project” loses money (negative PNV), but you have to separate out the non timber sale related activites and costs out from the timber sale related activities (sale prep, admin, planting, site prep, piling, slash burning, ect.)

    Lets look at the “East Reservoir” project on the Kootenai for an example(Dave made reference to it). It’s pretty much of a “timber show” with very little “road decommissioning” activities that belabor many USFS projects in R1. The timber sale portion “makes money” (has positive PNV). But even with this project that harvests more timber than any EIS I’ve seen in Montana…the USFS has included 10,000 acres of “slashing small trees and prescribed burning at a cost of $3,000,000 ($290/acre). All of these acres are outside logged units. I know of no state that would do this. They might burn slash and broadcast burn clearcut units for site prep…but I’ve never seen a state spend money on prescribed burning. So there you go…”below cost timber sale”! Now maybe prescribed burning is a beautiful thang…but it has nothing to do with a timber sale.

    In addition…the average “harvest per acre” is 4.5 MBF. About a quarter of this project is regen harvest (seed tree) so this tells me that not much per acre is coming off the commercial thin and “improvement” harvest units. The average for the last 10 Montana DNRC timber sales is 7.5 MBF/acre. With a high of 13 MBF for clearcut…but even the lowest volume “commercial thinned” timber sale is 6 MBF. The lower board feet removed per acre the lower the bid price and hence lower “revenue.” On the Kootenai and Flathead in 2014 the loggers paid the USFS an average of $200/MBF for stumpage while statewide the DNRC got an average of $240/MBF.

    I should add a caveat to the above. According to the EIS, the NEPA costs are considered (sunk) and therefore not accounted for. As we’ve discussed before, the cost to prepare the EIS shall be hidden from the public. The USFS doesn’t even post “timber sale results” on their websites while every state does. How can the public adequately analyze all this without more transparency. As Todd recommended in his study, the USFS needs to do a better job of “tracking” and making available to the public their costs. I know it’s such an agonizing pain to take out five minutes a day and fill out a timecard and list what “project” I worked on.

    And yes, I also noticed the “headline” on the story in the Missoulian. Pretty much highlights that the enviros still have a sympathetic media. Lets see…Garrity got $350,000 from Carol King awhile back. Should the Missoulian headline then read “Aging folk singer funded AWR said….?” It’s all rather comical since the media influence has waned in this country. The only industry I can think of that has taken a bigger beating than the timber industry is the media industry. 30% of reporters have been “laid off” in the last decade. They had a monopoly…and they blew it. The internet opened the door to the free market. You can whine about FOX news, but it is a result of the media establishment not having the objective discipline to hew to their craft. It doesn’t matter what I think, it doesn’t matter what you think, all that matters is what the consumer thinks and half the country got tired of “who, what, when, and what cause the reporter wants to push.” (it’s always fun to look for the “adjectives” a biased reporter uses in his story-LOL- and look for the “but statement”…as in “industry hack says this “but” activist says that’s not so” LOL).

    Perhaps the Missoulian should do a hard hitting expose’ on how much the USFS logged in the last 50 years in Montana (25%-Kootenai, 15% Lolo and Flathead, 10% Bitteroot, 5% Helena, BDNF, Gallatin, ect.) and how much they are logging now (less than 1%/decade). Of course, who would want to inquire into the most obvious question.

  7. I think it’s time to revisit this whole “below cost timber sale” perception. I think it’s time for another audit of the timber sale program…in the Northern Region at least. This would be a great project for Todd Morgan and BBER. But since the Missoulian has implied that he is a stooge of the USFS taking payoffs in a dark parking garage somewhere, perhaps we could bring in Randall O’Toole (OK…I’ll curb my inner snide).

    Seriously folks. I submit for your consideration… the theory that “the Northern Region timber sale program makes a profit.” (a little Rod Serling there LOL). It dawned on me after I wrote last nights post.
    I’ve read every EIS and EA in the northern region, and I’ve always given the “Economics” section a cursory glance (nothing makes my eyes glaze over faster than seeing “present net value (PNV)”…kind of like trying to read your health insurance policy…or one of my posts!). But last night and this morning I reviewed the “economic section” in Chapter 3 of several projects in R1. Finally wrapped my head around the whole PNV thing.

    First off…Kudos to R1 for splitting the PNV into “timber sale PNV” and “timber sale and “other planned activities-PNV.” The Timber Sale PNV is simply anticipated revenues from selling the timber (stumpage) minus the cost of the timber sale. Costs include “road construction(the biggie cost),” sale prep, sale admin, slash disposal (I assume this includes pile burning and broadcast burning if need be). Most of these projects have a pretty “positive” timber sale PNV…in other words…they make a profit.

    Now…the real money loser is in the “other planned activities-PNV.” As I pointed out in my last post this includes “prescribed burning.” The Kootenai and Flathead are big on RX burning “roadless areas”..(ooh…ooh…there’s the timber beast biologist dying for more early seral LOL). This can cost anywhere from $200-$390/acre (depends on if we need to “slash small diameter trees first). There’s no way, in my opinion, that this should be billed to the “timber sale” side of things. Therein lies part of the problem…I think people get timber sale “project” mixed up with “timber sale.” There are a lot of things (costs) in a timber sale project that have nothing to do with the timber sale part including “recreation costs” (trailhead parking construction), old road decommissioning or gates is a biggie (one could argue whether that should get billed to timber or “wildlife”).

    However, a couple of the costs that get billed to the “other activities” is planting and pre-commercial thinning.” Me personally…I think that should be billed to the “timber sale-PNV.” After all, the State of Montana DNRC pays for a lot of PCT and they plant “desirable species” also. So for me, the important question is whether the profits from the “timber sale-PNV” can cover the planting and PCT within the project. Of course…the great wild card in all of this…is “what does it cost to prepare the EIS.” There are a few hints out there as you’ll see later.

    Now that I’ve lost half of you with PNV…I’m going to regale the remainder with some project examples (I hear crickets). I tried to pick “recent” projects that reflect “recent” stumpage prices paid which has everything to do with “revenue”…right. Before I start I will go off on a tangent and talk about the “Spotted Bear Project”, as mentioned by Todd Morgan. The PNV for that EIS was calculated in 2009…who could forget the great recession right…it calculated revenue as -$4.79 per thousand board feet(MBF). That is a minus, in other words they figured they would give away the timber and have to pay the purchaser to grade that lousy road along Hungry Horse Reservoir (which I might add will be enjoyed by recreationists who don’t pay a fricken dime). Instead…the price of lumber went up and the USFS got a bid of $100/MBF. I gleaned that price from Todd Morgans story. In the last quarter of FY 2015, the Flathead was getting $160/MBF. The “timber sale PNV” went from -$118,000 in the EIS to what looks like a profit of $900,000….which goes a long way to paying for the PCT and planting…and the “trailhead parking lot expansion.” I tell this story for a reasons. The reason being “why can’t the USFS post timber sale prospectus and bid results online like the states do so people like me who have no life but who analyze numbers for a living can research “below cost timber sales.” Seriously…how can Todd Morgan or Randall O’toole research this without readily available info? I’m going to consider the “costs” in the EIS as fixed…the USFS has plenty of “past job histories” for this…but the “revenue” projections in the EIS are the wild card and need to be checked against “actual.”

    OK…now that I’ve lost another half of you…I’ll get to my examples.
    My favorite “money maker” timber sale “project” is the “Clear Creek Project” on the Nez Perce in Idaho. The draft EIS was done in 2015. They’re selling a pretty fair amount on this one. It averages about 10MBF/acre. Idaho has been getting around $150/MBF for stumpage. The Nez Perce takes a bit of a different “accounting tack” than the Montana Forests but I’ll reduce it to “timber Sale PNV” and “other activities” PNV. The “timber sale PNV”….remember, this is the “profit” after the costs of road construction, sale admin, ect….is $6,000,000. This profit is more than enough to cover the 3 million dollar cost for “planting,” PCThinning 2,000 acres, and decommissioning 13 miles of road. So…the “timber sale and other activities” PNV is a profit of 3 million dollars…which can now be deposited in the rat hole of the federal treasury. This is the best EIS I’ve seen for “articulating” costs…and it is the only one that lists how much it cost to prepare the EIS…$175,000. Now if the Nez Perce can tell us how much it cost to prepare the EIS…how come the rest of the forests can’t? Hmmm. Thankyou for your transparency Nez Perce. Good Job. Scratch one “below cost timber sale.”

    Lets hop over the hill to the “Buckhorn Project” on the Kootenai in Montana. It’s another “timber beast biologist” early seral dream. Regen harvest and RX burn in a rainforest that hasn’t seen early seral since 1910. This one mimic’s a state timber sale in that the harvest is concentrated in one area. It doesn’t mimic a state sale in that in prescribed burns a bunch of roadless. 9MBF/acre. Has a “timber sale PNV” profit of 1 million dollars…and after paying for the $600,000 dollars of RX burning has a “an other activity” PNV of $270,000 that will be returned to the rat hole of the Federal treasury.

    Lets hop a bit further east to the East Reservoir Project on the Kootenai. I know everyone wants to go to lunch so I’ll be brief. Talked about this one last night. Only 4.5 MBF/acre. Done in 2011..so I think the “revenue side” is a little low at $100/MBF…but plausible. It has a Timber Sale profit of only $200,000…which is 1.3 million dollars short of covering PC thinning of 5300 acres and planting. Has a lot of “haul road BMP maintenance” (176 miles)…and spends an enormous amount on RX burning. I’m gonna have to put this one in the “money loser” category.

    I see we still have 5 minutes to lunch…so I’m gonna touch on another one on the Flathead real quick. The Wild Cramer project. Another in a trend towards “bigger timber sales” on R1. Done in 2012, so I think revenue is understated. Harvests 8.9 MBF/acre. Has a “timber sale PNV” profit of 1 Million dollars that covers the cost to PCT 4,000 acres and returns $200,000 to the rat hole of the treasury. OK…I see that some of you are already heading to the banquet room…so after lunch I’ll summarize.

    If we could all get seated…I’ve still got some ground to cover here…wasn’t that a great Prime Rib (the lettuce was wilted and the coffee cold)! I want to touch on a “money loser” example. And I mean one that loses money on the “timber sale-PNV.” This is a small sale on the Kootenai called the Pilgrim. Only 10 MMBF…7MBF/acre. Projected revenue of only $300,000 and “timber sale” costs of $700,000….ouch. It does have 47 miles of haul road where BMP would be implemented. If you look at a map…these units are scattered out all over the place…not really sure what they’re doing here.

    Anyway…just a couple observations and then we can all head for home (hope that blizzard outside lets up). It’s pretty obvious to me that the USFS in the Northern region is making profit on their timber sales. Nothing below cost here. In most cases they’re making enough money to pay for any PC thinning, planting, and road maintenance requirements. It also obvious they’re way below the states cost/revenue ratio….but it looks like they’re paying their own way here.

    I think the USFS is benefitting today from that nasty old “road purchaser credit” of yesteryear. They aren’t spending money on new system roads today. The idea then, and we’re benefitting from it now, was that harvesting 20% of the “working circle” that the road accessed would pay for the road…and every timber sale afterward would be gravy.

    I am looking for volunteers to sit on a committee that will research and document this and have it “published”…because as Mr. Garrity mentioned above…if it hasn’t been published then it hasn’t happened…and I think we all know we’re guilty until we prove ourselves innocent. That way the next time Mr. Garrity claims there are still “below cost timber sales” in Montana…we can send our data to that guy at the Washington Post who gave Senator Tester four Pinocchio’s…and he can give Mr. Garrity a few-LOL.

    I see I’ve run a little over time… some of you are already heading for the door….I didn’t cover as much as I would have liked too…I do have copies of my book up here for sale…you can pick up your certificates in the hallway…drive safe…I just hope I can get to the airport before they close it and never come back here again…you’re the rudest and most inattentive SOB’s I’ve ever seen.

  8. Gee, Derek, a little grumpola today?
    But thanks for wading through the guck so I won’t have to.
    I’ve never understood the 90,000 acre project areas with the 100 acres of actual work packages.
    But there is no doubt that the associated costs of preparing a sale should be well under the revenues to be gained. DNRC can do it, tribes galore do it, the formerly-integrated REITs used to do it…..

  9. Lawsuits provides a market correcting mechanism by helping to internalize externalities so that the price of wood more accurately reflects the full cost of production. The price of wood from federal land is too low. It excludes the cost of climate change, water pollution, endangered species recovery, social controversy, etc. Artificially low prices generate excess demand and excess environmental harm. Unfortunately, litigation does little to affect the prices paid by consumers, but thankfully it does affect the price pad by federal timber purchasers who must deal with delay, costs of intervening in lawsuits, etc. This helps reduce demand for federal timber. Let’s thank NGOs for the great work they do helping to correct market imperfections.

    • I tend to think that we need more uses for the excess trees in our crowded and unhealthy forests. We especially need to make the small plastic (made in China with Arab oil) stuff we currently use out of small American trees. There will come a time when the legal loopholes are mostly closed. We’re already seeing how desperate the preservationists are getting. Some may feel that this transition period will be awkward and painful but, I will be amused at the handwringing from the “serial litigators”.

    • There’s not that much wood coming from the national forests that litigation is reflected in the price of wood as used by the consumer. You can try to make wood more expensive in a number of ways, but I don’t think the demand is thereby reduced- traditionally we just buy it from Canada. Whom I think do more or less the same kind of management we do – with more lynx, bear and so on, so you could argue either way about the wildlife impacts.

      If it doesn’t make the cost of wood higher, then it probably isn’t decreasing demand (unless you can hypothesize a different mechanism other than price).

      It simply transfers the tree-cutting away from some communities and to others with less federal land.
      I’ve seen people try to calculate externalities like that, but there are positive externalities as well and you could keep a legion of economists employed for a century doing sensitivity analyses on all the assumptions.. which would change through time.. so they would never catch up.

      PS Perhaps the price of marijuana should reflect the impacts on climate change, health of smokers and second hand smoke, water usage and pollution, and so on as well. I find it interesting that some groups have chosen one (fairly environmentally innocuous) activity (cutting trees on federal land) and subject it to a much higher bar than other potentially environmentally damaging activities.

      Or ski passes should reflect the climate change impacts of driving your car to the ski area, buying all the equipment, the carbon impacts of running the lifts and so on. I don’t think anyone has argued that ski area litigation is just making prices reflect externalities and reduces demand for federal ski areas…

  10. The source of the ‘byproduct’ philosophy: Dale Bosworth arguing for community-based collaboration and active management.
    http://www.fs.fed.us/speeches/learning-importance-what-we-leave-land

    “The idea is this: We sit down with stakeholders and all interested citizens, and together we envision a desired future condition for the land. We ask what values we all share—what do we want the land to look like in 20 or 50 years? If we can agree on that, then it becomes simply a matter of how to get there. Then we formulate appropriate goals and work with partners all across the landscape to reach those shared goals.”

    “That’s what we mean when we say that what we leave on the land is more important than what we take away. Twenty years ago, we focused primarily on outputs, measured in terms of board feet; today, we focus primarily on outcomes, measured in terms of healthy ecosystems. We’ve learned the need to plan for long-term ecosystem health by building a consensus among stakeholders all across the landscape through collaboration and community-based forestry.”

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