Expanding public participation in formulating forest programmes

Increasing public participation in forestry management
Governments should promote and provide opportunities for the participation of interested parties, including local communities and indigenous people, industries, labour, non-governmental organizations and individuals, forest dwellers and women, in the development, implementation and planning of national forest policies.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Agenda 21 recommends launching or improving opportunities for participation of all people, including youth, women, indigenous people and local communities in the formulation, development and implementation of forest-related programmes and other activities, taking due account of local needs and cultural values.

Public participation in forest management has always had a role in the United States, but there have been significant changes over the decades. In the early years, the Forest Service was seen as an organization of trained foresters, with external guidance coming from select advisory boards. By 1960, with the passing of the Multiple Use Act, public interests in the forest management grew. New recreation and environmental interests had broadened the use-value of the forest through legal channels, from being primarily a natural resource for either production or protection, to one which included recreational use and wilderness protection areas.

In 1976, the US National Forest Management Act formally recognized public participation in the development, review and revision of public land management plans. A general guideline to public involvement recommended that information should be easily accessible and comprehensible; appropriate time for public consideration and feedback, and emphasis on engaging all interest parties, which would include not only immediate user groups, but those with an economic dependency in the forest region, as well as other concerned citizens from outlying areas.

1. The challenge that the US Forest Service faces is to ensure that public involvement processes adequately address the citizens that do participate, while simultaneously representing that silent majority of the rest of the country, when making final management decisions.
Counter Claim:
2. Environmental groups such as the Wilderness Society, and the Sierra Club are currently standing in opposition to local management plans, arguing that communities will make compromised decisions based on economic needs, rather than scientific environmental realities.
Protecting forests
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 15: Life on Land