Canadian Forest Service Publications

Indicators of forest-dependent community sustainability: the evolution of research. 2002. Beckley, T.M.; Parkins, J.R.; Stedman, R.C. Forestry Chronicle 78(5): 626-636.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 21017

Language: English

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This paper describes the evolution of research on socio-economic indicators of community sustainability in several Canadian Model Forest locations since 1994. In the Foothills and Western Newfoundland Model Forests, we employed an "expert-driven" approach to indicator selection and reporting. We used census data to document change over time on key community profile variables such as age, employment, income, population mobility, education attainment, poverty, and real estate values. Objective measures of these variables were supplemented with personal interviews in order to construct a more dynamic picture of community well-being. The early work of our group focused primarily on "profile" indicators—essentially static, descriptive indicators that allow one to create a snapshot of a community in time. Work is currently underway on the next generation of socio-economic indicators we describe as "process" indicators. Process indicators deal more with causal affects than outcomes. They include things like sense of place or attachment to place (which has implications for population mobility and education attainment). Process indicators also include variables such as leadership, volunteerism, entrepreneurship, and social cohesion—all of which we are attempting to include in a combined measure of community capacity.