University of Vermont

Forest Resource Values
Forest Resource Values
 FOR 152, RM 152

Course Description
In the Northern Forest region, conflicts over public and private forestland management are inherently complex and dynamic, involving diverse ecological systems and services, economic and recreation uses, and local and absentee land owners.  Goals that require landscape level decisions and broad community participation have historically run up against the legally defined rights of the individual landowner acting in isolation from larger community interests.  For example, managing a forest tract to maximize just timber production is often at the discretion of a single property owner, made at a scale delineated by tax maps and a time horizon measured in yearly earnings.  However, other values of the same forest tract may be more communal (e.g., water quality regulation, habitat protection, recreation opportunities), yet have no easily identified spatial boundaries, time dimensions, or publicly held values.  To reconcile conflict over forest resource values, innovative sustainable forest management systems require an inclusive, transparent, democratic group process and decision-making framework that explicitly recognize uncertainty in ecological economic systems, feedback loops between socioeconomic and ecological complexity, conflicts amongst competing uses and land ownership patterns, and political power within and between stakeholder positions.

This is a problem-based course, with the goal to design, test, and implement a group decision-making process useful to communities throughout the Northern Forest region. 

Course Project
The Spring 2004 course will contribute to a project of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, incorporating multi-criteria decision tools from ecological economics, international and national work on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, and new methods for small group decision-making drawn from social psychology and behavioral economics.  This framework will be designed, implemented, and evaluated in the White River watershed of Vermont in close alliance with the White River Partnership, a citizen’s group wrestling with issues similar in scope and scale to many communities throughout the Northern Forest

Every few years.

Spring 2004

PowerPoint Presentations
2/3 - Amy Sheldon, White River Partnership
2/3 - Jon Bouton, Forests in the White River Watershed
2/17 - Jon Erickson, We Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot
3/9 - Caroline Hermans, Multi-Criteria Decision Aide at the Watershed Scale

Supplementary Readings
Proctor, W., "Valuing Forest Resources using Multi-criteria Decision Analysis and Stakeholder Participation"
Proctor, W. and M. Drechsler, "Deliberative Multi-criteria Evaluation: A case study of recreation and tourist options in Victoria Australia"
Scaling National Criteria and Indicators to the Local Level
Web Resources
Montreal Process Criteria & Indicators:
Roundtable on Sustainable Forests:
Forest Stewardship Council:
The Heinz Center:

The Northern Forest Center:
The Northern Forest Alliance:
National Wildlife Federation, Northeastern Natural Resource Center :
Forest System Project of the Sustainability Institute:

Last modified March 28 2004 07:38 PM

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