Canadian Forest Service Publications

Relationship between multi-scaled criteria and indicators initiatives in North America. 2003. Bridge, S.R.J.; Wright, P.; Rios, R. Pages 345-346 (Vol. A) in Forests, source of life: Part A. Forests for people, Proceedings: XII World Forestry Congress. September 21-28, 2003, Québec, Quebec. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Headquarters, Industry, Economics and Programs Branch, Ottawa.

Year: 2003

Issued by: National Capital Region

Catalog ID: 23632

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free)

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Much of the initial focus on developing criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management (SFM) has resulted from the need for countries to report on national progress toward sustainability. However, SFM involves issues at multiple scales and achieving national goals of sustainability largely rests on actions carried out at the forest management unit (FMU) scale. The relationship between scales can be complicated, but must be made clear in order to rationalize the use of multi-scaled C&I and ensure efficient implementation. This paper examines the various approaches and mechanisms used to develop and implement multi-scale C&I initiatives in North America. At a national scale, Canada, Mexico and the USA use the Montréal Process C&I. Canada also uses a compatible national C&I set endorsed by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. Sub-nationally, various state and provincial C&I have been developed, typically based on the country's national C&I framework. At the FMU scale, Model Forests have led C&I development. Also, recent tests of C&I in the USA have helped develop a core suite of FMU scale C&I. Several challenges to further developing C&I at multiple scales exist. Sustainability is a human value, not a fixed independent state of social, economic and ecological affairs. Concepts of sustainability vary across scales and C&I frameworks must be flexible and adaptable over time. National and FMU scale C&I can help answer questions unique to their scale and provide feedback for decisions at other scales. Managing for sustainability requires thinking across all scales, but monitoring and assessing sustainability must recognize that different questions and different methods are appropriate for different scales. Gathering appropriate data continues to be a significant challenge to C&I reporting. Reporting has typically been easiest for environmental and economic indicators. Efforts to develop effective, measurable indicators of social values and non-timber goods must continue.