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The state of the forest: reporting and communicating the state of forests by Montreal Process countries/Etat de la foret: rapport sur l'etat des forets et la communication de cet etat dans les pays du processus de Montreal/ El estado de los bosques: presentacion de informes y comunicacion sobre el estado de los bosques por los paises del Proceso de Montreal.

INTRODUCTION

Since the 1990s, State of the Forest Reports (SFR) have become a tool for government forest departments and ministries to communicate to their citizens and, increasingly, the global public information about the status and development of their country's forests. The approach has proven to be quite attractive, and governments, sub-national governments and even communities have produced such reports. At the global level, reports are also compiled and published by international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) (e.g., FAO 2009, 2012), and regional bodies such as Forest Europe and United Nation Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) (Forest Europe, UNECE and FAO, 2011).

These reports should not be confused with the forest resource assessment reports produced by the FAO, or with forest inventory reports produced by individual countries. Such reports provide important data for State of the Forest Reports, but tend to focus on the extent and nature of forest resources rather than on progress in achieving sustainable forest management.

Initially, State of the Forest Reports were stand-alone documents that were difficult to compare. While the reports provided important information about forest management, there was a need to use tools that could help in the collection and organisation of information in a manner that assisted in conceptualising, evaluating, communicating and implementing Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) (Brand 1997). There was also a need to compare status reports across time and across countries, especially with the rise in importance of global challenges such as climate change.

In the 1990s, the concept of SFM and the use of criteria and indicators as a tool to define SFM gained momentum. By 2000, nine international and regional criteria and indicators initiatives covering more than 150 countries were in progress to define specific suites of indicators (Castaneda et al. 2001). The objective was to have a common understanding of SFM, providing a measure to record progress and a means to communicate with national and global development dialogues. After a decade of experience, it is appropriate to evaluate the successes and challenges in developing State of the Forest Reports that not only cater to the needs of the countries' citizens but which also meet the needs of a global public. This paper looks at the reporting undertaken by Montreal Process countries. The 12 Montreal Process countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United States of America, Uruguay) have agreed to report on a common set of criteria and indicators allowing for cross-country comparison. This study reviews the reporting mandates and the success in developing country reports based on them. The objective of this paper is to evaluate if the twin purpose of Montreal Process to facilitate cross country comparison of SFM progress and its communication, are being fulfilled. The basic questions examined are: Are member countries reporting on the agreed criteria and indicators or have they undergone changes? How do these changes affect communication objectives? What lessons can be learnt?

The Montreal Process is guided by the working group on criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. It accounts for 80% of the world's temperate and boreal forests and 50% of all forests in the world (Palenova 2009). Ten of the twelve current Montreal Process countries endorsed an initial set of seven criteria and 67 indicators in the Santiago Declaration in 1995. Argentina and Uruguay joined the process a few months later. In 2007, the set was revised to 64 indicators and it was later (2009) further reduced to 54 indicators (Palenova 2009). The 2007 revision was timely as member countries were expected to develop a State of the Forest Report based on the revision by 2009 (the previous reporting deadline being 2003).

The 2007 Montreal Process has seven criteria that encompass biological diversity, productive capacity of forest ecosystems, forest ecosystem health and vitality, soil and water resources, global carbon, socio-economic benefits, existence of legal, institutional and economic framework. The three essential facets of sustainable development (ecological, social and economic) are addressed through these criteria and indicators so that adequate information is available for management, especially setting targets for achievement.

This paper looks at the seven country reports from the Montreal Process initiative as per the 2007 revision of 64 indicators. The seven SFRs examined here are the latest publications by the member countries that mention the Montreal Process. As of February 2013, seven country SFRs (Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russian Federation and United States of America) were available through links to the Montreal Process website (Montreal Process Website 2013). Reports from the remaining five countries have not been located.

METHODS

The primary source for the State of Forest Country Reports referred to here is the Montreal Process website http:// www.rinya.maff.go.jp/mpci (now located at http://www. montrealprocess.org). Links to the country reports are included under 'Resources', within the subtitle 'Publications'. While some country links are direct links to their reports (Japan, Korea and Russian Federation), others link to national websites that then link to the reports (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United States). The Canadian website has links to the 2012 State of Canada's Forest, Annual Report. However, to enable comparison with other countries, the 2009 document has been used here as it specifically mentions the Montreal Process, whereas later Annual Reports do not. This report can be found at http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/ pdfs/30071.pdf (last accessed 29 January 2013).

The stated objectives in the SFR documents give a broad indication of the purposes that member countries hope to fulfil by their publication. A comparison based on a number of criteria has been attempted to ascertain the situation.

RESULTS

Reports from 7 of the 12 member countries were available in February 2013. Table 1 lists the names of the documents published or uploaded on websites by member countries on their state of the forest.

While each of the seven country reports shares the common objectives of the Montreal Process, they have also specified some of their own. Table 2 lists excerpts from member country SFRs on the purposes of the reports.

The seven country reports were compared in relation to the number of indicators reported, modifications to the wording of indicators, references to data gaps, and national consultations conducted for preparation of the document (Table 3).

The 2008 Australia State of the Forest Report follows the criteria set out by the Montreal Process. It has however "adapted the indicators to better suit reporting on the country's unique forest" (Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia 2008). From 64 Montreal Process indicators (2007), the Australian reporting has streamlined the reporting to 44 indicators. This list was based on recommendations made by a national-level Montreal Process Implementation Group. The group, comprising representatives of the Australian Government, state and territory governments and non-governmental stakeholders, reviewed the existing list of indicators with the aim of eliminating duplication, ambiguity and gaps (Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia 2008).

The latest report by Canada that mentions the Montreal Process is the 'State of Canada's Forest 2009'. A previous 2005 publication by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) on 'Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management in Canada: National Status' reports on six criteria and 46 indicators, but these only follow the Montreal Process indicators to a limited extent. Recent publications such as 'State of Canada's Forest: Annual Report 2012' or the website on Forest Inventory, make no mention of the Montreal Process indicators.

The Republic of Korea has reported on 28 indicators touching some aspects of each of the seven criteria laid out in the Montreal Process. Japan, New Zealand and the United States of America report on all seven criteria and 64 indicators according to the agreed Montreal Process C&I. The Russian Federation has reported on the 54 indicators agreed in 2009.

DISCUSSION

The Montreal Process

The importance of forests in achieving sustainable development was recognized by the adoption of the Statement of Forest Principles and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 (Montreal Process Website 2012) and re-affirmed at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. UNCED was the catalyst to develop mechanisms to improve the understanding of sustainable forest management and devise ways to measure its progress globally. This necessitated a common approach and a mutually agreed upon set of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management so that countries could examine and harmonise their policies on conservation and sustainable management of forests (Brand 1997). In addition, mutually acceptable terms and definitions in the form of criteria and indicators permitted effective dialogue and allowed for international cooperation and trade (Brand 1997). The Working Group on criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests ("Montreal Process") was formed in Geneva in June 1994 (Montreal Process Website 2012) to develop draft criteria and indicators based on the outcome of a meeting of experts in Montreal, Canada, in 1993.

While the Montreal Process criteria and indicators provide for a common framework for the member countries to describe, monitor, assess and report on national forest trends and progress, there is allowance for the evolution of the criteria and indicators (Montreal Process Working Group 2007). Since member countries were spread across the world, lacked geographic continuity and had considerable variations, flexibility was built into the system in recognition of their unique qualities and capacities. Hence, while encouraging participating countries to use the commonly developed suite of criteria and indicators, the agreement leaves the final reporting format to individual countries to decide on what is best suited for their perceived national needs. Such an agreement, however, also makes it difficult for harmonized and comparable reporting between countries, and seemingly reflects the inability of member countries to agree on what should be reported. Nevertheless, the Montreal Process has set into motion an effort to gather information regarding the status of forest that is not only useful at the country level but also globally for monitoring trends and setting targets for temperate and boreal forests. The purpose as stated in the State of Forest Reports of the member countries (Table 2) can be encompassed in the following five objectives:

1. To use Criteria and Indicators;

2. To monitor progress;

3. To allow for comparison across countries;

4. To keep the public informed nationally and to engage them; and

5. To inform the global public.

These can be further classified under two main categories, namely to fulfil the Montreal Process objectives (1, 2 and 3) and to communicate with the public (4 and 5). These two areas are examined in greater detail along with individual country performance in the following sections.

How well do the country reports fulfil the Montreal Process objectives?

Howell et al. (2008) argue that complete uniformity in indicator frameworks is unrealistic due to varying interests and needs (Howell et al. 2008). However the lack of a minimum level of uniformity also reduces comparability across countries and across time. While it is not legally binding on Montreal Process member countries to follow the C&I word for word, the intention echoed in the conceptual basis is to provide a common framework so as to have a common understanding about SFM within and across countries (Montreal Process Working Group 2007). The following section looks at different country reports and the Montreal Process indicators.

Australia: While Australia has taken a lead in streamlining the criteria and indicators used for data collection, it has departed substantially from the agreed upon criteria and indicators of the Montreal Process in its Australia's State of the Forest Report (2008). Australia's extensive consultation helped it to set up a framework for the harmonisation of reporting amongst the different states (Howell et al. 2008). A table in the report links the current set of indicators with the previous ones used in 2003 and the Montreal Process indicators of 1996, making them easy to track over time. However, the reasons why new indicators were added or old ones dropped are unclear; broad reasons include the difficulty of measuring an indicator and its overlap with other indicators (Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia 2008). Almost all of the 44 indicators are worded differently and many are combinations of indicators from the Montreal Process list. There are also new indicators that have been introduced. This makes comparison with other 2009 country reports of the Montreal Process difficult.

Canada: 2009 State of Canada's Forest Report, as mentioned earlier, is a primer on Canadian forests without any substantive information on criteria and indicators (Natural Resources Canada 2009). While the report strongly advocates the Montreal Process and the importance of criteria and indicators, information is provided on only 12 indicators, and these only touch on a few areas of each of the seven Montreal Process criteria.

The Republic of Korea: The National Report on Sustainable Forest Management in Korea has reported on 28 indicators. Of these 28 indicators, 24 are from the Montreal Process and four indicators are from the Pan-European Helsinki Process (Korea Forest Department 2009). The report does not document which indicators have been excluded or the status of these. It does however mention that some indicators are not reported due to difficulties in data collection (Korea Forest Department 2009).

Japan: The Japan report, State of Japan's Forests and Forest Management; Second Country Report of Japan to the Montreal Process, has no changes in the wording of the indicators or in the sequence of indicators (Japan Forest Agency 2009). It states clearly when data are unavailable. Hence the information gaps attributable to a lack of data are evident. Although the information for each indicator is up-to-date, indicators are dealt with crisply and without much detail. Details of the methods used to obtain the information are not supplied. Japan does not appear to have conducted any form of national stakeholder consultation while preparing this report.

New Zealand: The report, Sustainable Management of New Zealand's Forests: The 2008 New Zealand Country Report on the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators, lists all the Montreal Process indicators. No changes have been made either to the number of indicators or to the wording of the indicators. The report also comments on all 64 indicators and, where data are unavailable, mentions the extent to which data have been collected (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 2009). National consultations were conducted, but no details are provided about these.

United States: The National Report on Sustainable Forests --2010 by the USA reports on all 64 indicators. It deals extensively with each indicator and, where applicable, also collates regional information. It was available in the public domain for 120 days for comments from the public (United States Department of Agriculture 2010). A separate chapter explains how the Montreal Process criteria and indicators are used at different scales, including county, state, regional and national levels, and how they are linked. The chapter also mentions the activities that have been undertaken or that are planned. Each section reporting on criteria and indicators also mentions the evolution of the new indicator that is being used compared to the indicator used in 2003. The indicator reference numbers used in the US report differ slightly from the Montreal Process numbers. The US report has opted for a 'simpler scheme' involving the criterion number followed by an ascending number starting at 1 and ending at 64, the last indicator in the Montreal Process criteria and indicators (United States Department of Agriculture 2010).

Russian Federation: The country report, Russian Federation National Report: Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests Montreal Process 2009, is based on the Montreal Process criteria and indicators but the authors have chosen to follow the 54 indicators agreed in 2009 rather than the 2007 list of 64 indicators. While the synopsis (page 2) of the report mentions that it is based on these 54 indicators, the actual reporting is restricted to 50 indicators, missing out four indicators (5.b, 6.1i, 6.3c, and 7.2a).

Of the seven country reports examined, three countries (Japan, New Zealand and the USA) have reported on the full number of C&I whereas four countries (Australia, Canada, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation) have not. Australia and Canada have also modified the terminologies. There is a tension between adhering to the Montreal C&I and developing consultative processes within countries to keep the report relevant and useful to a country's citizens. The USA and New Zealand appear to have developed appropriate compromises, keeping to the Montreal Process format while adding information. The Korean report has added four indicators from the parallel Helsinki Process but has kept the rest of the indicators similar to the Montreal Process format.

While each country defines their own purposes for SFRs, there are two common themes in all the examples examined here: the member countries' intentions to report progress based on the Montreal Process C&I, and to communicate with the public and to inform and engage them in dialogue and action. Indicator 7.59 of the Montreal Process C&I reports on the capacity to measure and monitor changes in the conservation and sustainable management of forests, including compatibility with other countries in measuring, monitoring, and reporting on indicators of member countries. Overall the capacity to develop a report compatible with other countries is the responsibility of the relevant national government. This can be done through a number of measures, including popularising the use of indicators by provincial governments and other agencies involved in monitoring and documenting changes. Synchronising and harmonising these data require national governments to engage a number of stakeholders both inside and outside the government. The stakeholders include industries, research organisations, academic institutions, civil society organisations and the public. All countries have done some level of information dissemination and adoption of participatory approaches. Two countries, notably Japan and the Russian Federation, seem to have engaged in a minimal level of public participation whereas Australia, New Zealand and the USA have undertaken substantial levels of discussion within the government and with the public. Harmonizing data collection across different levels of governance (State/Province) remains a serious challenge for most countries.

The examination of the seven country SFRs thus reveals that there are fundamental differences in approach. Synchronising and harmonising reporting would allow for better cross-country comparisons of results and overall understanding of SFM situation.

Has the process of developing country reports helped communicate with public?

State of Forest Reports and their accessibility

Member countries use different names for their reports (Table 1). The name of the document plays a major role in accessibility and communication, and so the use of different names presents the first hurdle to comparisons between countries. The Montreal Process does not require member countries to follow any standard for the document's name and encourages countries to report individually. While Australia and Canada both use the term "State of Forest Report", other countries use different terminologies.

The use of different terminologies affects the ease with which the public can locate and use these documents. Even with the two countries using the term "State of Forest Report", one (Australia) uses it to report on criteria and indicators whereas the other (Canada) uses the term to report on a much broader range of forest-related issues. As a result, there is potential confusion for anyone searching electronically for a 'State of the Forest' report.

The internet provides a cost-effective, flexible and easy way to report statistical data about forests. Canada's website on Forest Inventory, where customised reports can be downloaded, is a good example on how flexible reporting can be incorporated into the basic framework. A complete report based on the agreed and universally understood terminologies, complemented by flexible web-based applications, would help increase accessibility to information about forests in individual regions or countries.

The 'State of Canada's Forest: Annual Report 2012'does not mention the Montreal Process, nor does it report on the basis of the agreed-upon criteria and indicators framework. Interestingly, the web-based link to criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management also fails to make any reference to the Montreal Process indicators. While some of the indicators on this website are based broadly on the Montreal Process criteria and indicators most have been re-worded and the indicator reference numbers used by the Montreal Process are not used, making it difficult to link to those that are listed in the Montreal Process indicator list. As a result, web-based searches fail to bring a reader to any complete list of criteria and indicators that Canada is following, either for national-level monitoring or for reporting under the Montreal Process.

A 2005 publication by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) on Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management in Canada: National Status reports on six criteria and 46 indicators, but these only follow the Montreal Process indicators to a limited extent. The latest document that even cursorily mentions the Montreal Process is the 2009 State of Canada's Forest Annual Report. No new publication has been released that mentions the Montreal Process indicators under either the same or similar name.

Similarly, the US report has the title 'USDA National Report on Sustainable Forests--2010', which is not easily located on the internet. A web search on "US state of forest" (searched on 28 January 2013) first leads to a report by the Society of America's Foresters published in 2007, by the name "State of Americas Forest" (Alvarez 2007). This is not an official government report and does not follow the criteria and indicators reporting format. This could create confusion and lead people to believe that there is no US report dealing with criteria and indicators.

FAO and many countries now use "State of the Forest Report" to mean the official document produced by a country describing the state of their forests. Since communication with the public is one of the primary objectives of the reports, greater standardization of the report names would be useful.

Communication and consultation

Communicating with the public, information sharing with forest managers and forest-dependent communities, and stakeholder consultation for dialogue and action are some of the important reasons for developing SFRs. Most of the objectives mentioned in the country reports meet not only national requirements but also international needs. The entire process of communication, meant to be a two-way process, would be met if a feedback mechanism were put in place (as is done by the USA). With the exception of Japan and the Russian Federation, countries have engaged in various levels of consultation with the public. However, only the USA has issued a public invitation to comment on the draft State of Forest Report.

The general public, which often equates to a fairly small group of interested stakeholders, has increasingly indicated a need for opportunities to provide input into forest management decisions through mechanisms that are engaging, collaborative and informative. Such mechanisms may need to be institutionalised if they are to be effective (Harshaw et al. 2009). Harshaw et al. (2009) argue that based on their research on public attitudes towards sustainable forest management in British Columbia, while the public welcomes opportunities for consultation, people will often fail to take advantage of opportunities unless there is a sense of urgency around a topic and they trust that their input will be seriously considered in decision making. All scales of SFRs need to provide the opportunity for serious and transparent consultation, which will also provide authors with the feedback that they need to improve the current and future reports. There are various mechanisms through which such consultation could be achieved, with a website dealing with individual criteria and their indicators being a practical way of ensuring the free flow of information. For example, British Columbia has an option for public comments on its state of forest report that is on its webpage (BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2013). Most criteria and indicators vary in their relevance to people across both time and space, and electronic consultation provides a flexible mechanism for dealing with this variability.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA have incorporated consultation processes. However most of the consultations are at a multi-stakeholder level and do not focus on specific stakeholders. Consultations with rural forest communities and indigenous communities are necessary as indicators for local communities are often different to those used nationally and internationally (Sherry et al. 2005, Purnomo et al. 2005, Pokharel and Larsen 2007). This is important as the lack of appropriate indices for socio-economic and cultural indicators has resulted in Aboriginal issues being poorly handled in some countries (Natcher and Hickey 2002, Gough et al. 2008).

The success of these efforts would be most visible if stakeholders were not only aware and informed but also contributing to data collection. Currently, there are numerous groups and processes involved in a wide variety of formal and informal data collection. Countries such as Switzerland involve volunteers in a range of data collection, using increasingly sophisticated web-based data collection programmes (Vogelwarte Sempach, 2013). With the increasing involvement of the public and advances in information technology the possibility of expert and non-expert contributions to forestry data collection needs to be considered. Such volunteer public efforts are no longer isolated to Google maps and Wikipedia. Research on technologies for earth observation using mobile personal communication devices has shown the potential for contributions by scientists and the public to the state of Earth Observation (Ferster and Coops, 2013). Such technologies have the potential to be expanded to a wide array of technical and social data collection by the public.

An initiative by the Department of Forest Resources Management of the University of British Columbia has been instrumental in assessing over 3000 criteria and indicators on forest management. The most relevant and useful 600 indicators are accessible to the public in an interactive website www.sfmindicators.org (Hickey and Innes 2005), which is also available in Chinese at www.sfmindicators.cn. This is hosted by the University and allows for the addition, modification and discussion of SFM indicators. Since the use of indicators is no longer limited to national or provincial reporting but is also used by communities to develop their own suites of indicators, this roster of indicators represents a useful source of information for groups developing indicator suites. Similar initiatives could be followed for forest data collection as well as by government departments involved in monitoring and reporting. One of the Montreal Process objectives sums up this aspect well: "An informed, aware and participatory public is indispensable to promoting sustainable forest management. Stakeholder involvement and awareness should help catalyze improved forest policies and practices" (Montreal Process Website 2012). The indication, however, is that while the need to improve outreach and address a wider audience remains, engaging broader audiences is rarely done by several of the countries involved in the Montreal Process.

At the 21st Montreal Process Working Group Meeting in June 2010, the issue of communication was discussed at length. The Group discussed web-based and non web-based means of communicating with the public. The discussions included areas of emerging interest and the use of new mechanisms such as social media and data visualisation to address citizen groups that included youth (Montreal Process Website 2012). Within the Montreal Process discussions, New Zealand is currently leading a working group on communication to look at these challenges and identify target groups and communication tools that can be effectively used. These promising initiatives indicate that communication and engagement are a priority and will hopefully translate into improved communication of indicator information. Such an effort would help identify, quantify and explain trends in the forests of the Montreal Process countries as a whole, making the initiative more valuable and useful for global assessments.

The review of experiences of Montreal Process countries indicates differing responsiveness amongst countries to the Montreal Process. More than a decade after the institution of the Montreal Process, five of the 12 countries have to yet produce a report. Of the seven countries reporting, only three are reporting a full set of indicators (it would be four, if we consider the special case of Russia). Australia has substantially changed the indicators on which it is reporting, making it difficult to compare with the Montreal Process set of indicators. While Canada has the information on many indicators (as seen in its forest inventory website), the report is a truncated list of indicators. Because of these variations it is difficult to identify a significant single reason why countries are not producing reports based on the Montreal Process indicators. While data collection difficulties are mentioned by a few countries, we can only speculate if inadequate funding, management problems or a lack of commitment to Montreal Process agreements has played a role. As discussed, there are many lessons to be learned from within the Montreal Process as well as from other initiatives. While the Montreal Process reporting has evolved substantially from agreements to reporting, progress has nevertheless been slow and partial. We suggest that streamlining and exploring technologically-driven citizen-based monitoring processes could assist in its progress.

CONCLUSIONS

While each country's State of Forest Report has many positive trends, there are many additional practices that each country could follow that would improve their Reports. There are many practices that the countries within the Montreal Process group collectively need to decide;

1. Harmonisation: Ensuring that the report is based on the agreed Montreal Process C&I, at the very least

2. Reporting data gaps along with details of efforts that have been initiated for data collection

3. Synchronisation: Formulating a timeline for each reporting period (including the year of reporting) that includes time for feedback and agreement for the next set of C&I for reporting

4. Identifying ways to institutionalise web-based feedback and engagement mechanisms at the national (and international) level

5. Identifying mechanisms to learn from other countries' public consultation processes

6. Exploring a common framework with other regional initiatives for global-level reporting

7. Deciding on a preferred generic name of "State of the Country Forests Report" or similar but unique name for country reports based on the Montreal Process C&I that they can be easily identified, particularly by online search engines.

The Montreal Process has given its member countries an opportunity to develop a model for national and international reporting of progress towards sustainable forest management using C&I. Experience suggests that despite each country's specific situation, it is possible and useful to agree and adhere to a common set of C&I for each reporting period.

To improve communication and consultation, it is not only necessary to institutionalise processes meeting processes but also to use the emerging possibilities provided by the development of information technologies, specifically web-based applications. Mechanisms for feedback and space for contributing to data collection by stakeholders need to be explored. While additional funding for data collection may be required, exploring innovative technological means to engage the public could be a key approach to improve consultation, data collection and domestic utility of reports at a reduced cost. The experiences gained by member countries should be shared both inside and outside the country so that they contribute to improved systems for stakeholder consultation, hierarchical but harmonised data collection and global level reporting on sustainable forest management.

The experiences within the Montreal Process countries are applicable to other processes of SFM reporting. Over 150 countries are involved with criteria and indicator development in nine different processes worldwide. Many countries are also involved in multiple processes. While the specific sets of criteria and indicators in these processes differ, the broad objectives of monitoring and communicating sustainable forest management efforts of countries remain the same. Practices identified in this report for improving the Montreal Process efforts and the State of Forest Reports of member countries could also be applicable to some of these other processes.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The valuable suggestions made by several anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged.

REFERENCES

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MONTREAL PROCESS IMPLEMENTATION GROUP FOR AUSTRALIA. 2008. Australia's state of forest report. Available at: http://adl.brs.gov.au/forestsaustralia/ publications/sofr2008.html.

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A. CHANDRAN and J.L. INNES

Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z4, Canada

Email: ajith.chandran@alumni.ubc.ca and john.innes@ubc.ca
TABLE 1 Official name of documents used by countries to report their
state of the forest

Country         Name of Document (Published Year) (Periodicity)
                (Pages)

Australia       Australia's State of Forest Report (2008) (5 years)
                (250)

Canada          State of Canada's Forest 2009 (2009) * (Annual) (55)

Japan           State of Japan's Forests and Forest Management; 2nd
                Country Report of Japan to the Montreal Process
                (2009) (Not Available) (154)

Korea           National Report on Sustainable Forest Management in
                Korea (2009) (Not Available) (159)

New Zealand     Sustainable Management of New Zealand's Forest; The
                2008 New Zealand Country Report on the Montreal
                Process Criteria and Indicators (2009)
                (Not Available) (233)

Russia          Russian Federation National Report: Criteria and
                Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable
                Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests Montreal
                Process 2009 (2009) Not Available) (110)

United States   USDA National Report on Sustainable Forests -2010
                (2011) (Not Available) (214)

* This document is not posted on the Montreal Process website and is
from the website of the Canadian Forest Service. While there is a
later document dealing with the State of Canada's Forest Annual
Report 2012 (2012), the 2009 document was used here as it
specifically mentions the Montreal Process, whereas later Annual
Reports do not.

TABLE 2 Purpose as mentioned in member country State of Forest
Reports

Country       Purpose

Australia     * ... (to) meet international reporting requirements
                under the Montreal Process

              * ... (to) keep the public informed about the changes
                that are happening in forests and whether the trends
                are positive or negative

Canada        * ... (to) find the State of Canada's Forests 2009
                interesting and informative ...

              * ... to produce periodic assessments ...

Japan         * ... to monitor progress

              * ... (to) acquaint the world with the state of forests
                and forest management of Japan and contribute to the
                efforts of countries and international organizations
                to promote Sustainable Forest Management

Korea         * ... to show the state of forests in Korea and the
                indicators of national progress towards the goal
                of sustainable forest management

              * ... to compare Sustainable Forest Management
                Criteria and Indicators across countries

              * ... to inform and engage a broad community of forest
                agencies, organizations and individuals, and to
                improve the quality of forest-related information

New Zealand   * ... (to provide) an overview of the current state
                of New Zealand's forests ... (and) a benchmark to
                enable future monitoring of indicators that can help
                us understand and maximise the benefits of our
                indigenous and plantation forests

              * ... (to) demonstrate to the international community
                that it is committed to sustainable management of
                all its forests, and what it is (or is not) achieving

Russia        * ... to provide current information on condition and
                management of the forest resources of the Russian
                Federation to policy makers, all interested parties,
                and the international community

USA           * ... it provides fresh, factual information along
                with some context to inform and inspire dialogue
                about sustainability of our Nation's forests

              * ... For society to understand the effects of
                complex problems on the environment and economy,
                and to become motivated to make choices that favour
                sustainability goals, a method is needed to
                communicate current forest conditions and important
                changes more clearly and explicitly to diverse
                interests. The Montreal Process Criteria and
                Indicators (MP C&I) provide a common framework to
                describe, monitor, assess, and report on forest
                trends at the national level and on the progress
                being made toward sustainable forest management.
                They also provide a common understanding within
                and across stakeholder communities of what is
                meant by sustainable forest management.

              * ... An informed, aware, and engaged public is
                indispensable to promoting sustainable forest
                management, and these criteria and indicators
                help provide the informational foundation for this
                engagement.

TABLE 3 Country report comparison on indicator change, process
and gaps in data

Country         Number of    Change in number        Change in
                Indicators   of indicators from 64   terminology
                                                     or definition
Australia          44               Yes                  Yes
Canada             12               Yes                  Yes
Japan              64               No                   No
Korea              24               Yes                  No
New Zealand        64               No                   No
Russia             54               Yes *                No
United States      64               No                   No

Country         Clear mention       National
                 of data gap    Consultation held

Australia          Yes               Yes
Canada             No                Yes
Japan              Yes               No
Korea              No                Yes
New Zealand        Yes               Yes
Russia             No                No
United States      Yes               Yes

* While the synopsis (page 2) of the country report mentions 54,
the actual reporting is on 50 indicators. The indicators are based
on the third edition (2009) of the MPCI which had 54 C&I
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Author:Chandran, A.; Innes, J.L.
Publication:International Forestry Review
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:6739
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