Oregon Workshop - Record of Workshop Discussions
March 31 to April 5, 1998 - Portland, Oregon, USA
- Executive Summary
- 1.0 Background
- 2.0 Workshop Objectives
- 3.0 Keynote Address
- 4.0 Validation of Agenda
- 5.0 Working Groups - Thematic Deliberations
- 6.0 Key Findings
6.1 Partnership and collaboration
6.2 Tools and Infrastructure for Decision Making
6.3 Indicators of Progress Toward Sustainable Forest Management
6.4 Using Your Networks
6.5 Other Key Elements and Findings
- 7.0 Advice to the IMFN/IMFNS
The Oregon International Model Forest Workshop, was hosted by the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management with sponsorship from the International Model Forest Network Secretariat (IMFNS). The workshop brought together 72 participants from 7 countries and a number of non-governmental organizations. These deliberations built upon the findings of the first meeting in the consultation process which was held in Tokyo, Japan from 10 to 12 March 1998.
The objectives of the Oregon Workshop were: (1) to exchange and share experiences with regard to the establishment and management of model forests, (2) to identify the critical elements to success and to propose solutions for effectively dealing with identified issues and (3) to provide advice and counsel to the IMFN country-level consultation process on the future of the IMFN.
The Oregon Workshop covered six days and focussed on four themes: partnerships and collaboration, tools and infrastructure for decision making, indicators of progress to sustainable forest management, and using networks. To set the stage for the thematic deliberations, selected model forest practitioners presented case studies as examples to stimulate ideas and discussions. The focus was on identifying the elements of success in model forests and as well those elements which present obstacles. After the plenary discussions, smaller working groups were convened to address the workshop objectives and provide the IMFN with key elements for consideration in building and maintaining a healthy network. The workshop also included two field trips, one to the Central Cascades Adaptive Management Area and the other to the Applegate Model Forest.
The consensus was that the workshop had been very successful in allowing participants to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and to expand their network knowledge and contacts. All of the views expressed indicated that there was strong support for model forests and for networking activities in the IMFN. The model forest concept can provide a link to understanding the interactions between societal values, economic and environmental benefits and forest management practices. Model forests can be used to demonstrate this understanding into our natural resource management planning and decision making.
The following is a condensed summary of the key findings of the workshop as prepared by the IMFN Secretariat.
Partnerships and Collaboration
The model forest concept of partnerships designed to foster collaboration and consensus-building in working toward sustainable forest management was validated by all participants. This conclusion built on the findings of the Tokyo Workshop which had concluded that broad-based partnerships are required which reflect the diversity of users and their range of needs from the forest. Partners need to agree to a common vision, goals and objectives. These partnerships must be open and inclusive and reflect societal and cultural values in the model forest area. There must be agreement on the vision, goals and objectives as well as processes and structures to support the partnership's decision-making processes. Trust and respect are essential to the success of the partnership. Commitment to the process for the long term is essential because it takes time to learn to work together in a model forest and to demonstrate its value and benefits to the participants.
Tools and Infrastructure for Decision Making
Participants viewed "instruments" for decision making to be key ingredients to the success of model forests. Tools should support decision making and not "make" the decisions. In other words, the partnership should focus on the decision making process and not the tools. For tools and models to be useful, their assumptions must be understood and they must be used in a transparent fashion. All model forests must include a clear description of the model forest land base and an accessible data base of the resources describing their state and condition. These data bases must be meaningful and available to all partners.
The choice of the appropriate technologies for decision making must take into account the group involved. These technologies should not be elitist and should be available to all partners. Building the capacity and involvement of people in decision making processes is necessary and should include the development of education and extension activities. The input of people and communities in the model forest will be fundamental to the ultimate success of activities undertaken in the model forest area.
Indicators of Progress Toward Sustainable Forest Management
Workshop participants concluded that different sets of indicators are required firstly to measure the progress of model forests as partnerships and secondly to measure the progress of model forests toward sustainable forest management at the model forest level.
Model forests must be able to demonstrate value and ultimately should demonstrate "incremental" gain towards sustainable forest management when compared to neighbouring sites that are being managed under a more "traditional" management regime.
Sustainable forest management will be defined and ultimately achieved differently within the context of each model forest's unique ecological, economic and social composition. Indicators to measure progress must address these three areas and must be clearly defined, easily understood, adaptive, practical, feasible and repeatable. Those selected must be rigorous enough to survive ongoing improvement and refinement. As well, indicators must be "nested" to ensure that they reflect links between changes in ecological, economic, and social circumstances over time.
At the international level, sustainability and sustainable forest management must be viewed in a global context in that conservation or preservation in one area may ultimately result in a simple transfer of consumptive pressures to another area. Criteria from the Montreal Process are seen as a suitable starting point.
Using Your Networks
Effective networking helps to build capacity at all levels and the benefits extend beyond just sharing of experiences and knowledge to learning about leadership and building confidence. It allows for greater strength within the partnership, better efficiencies in how the partnership operates and in the implementation of model forest activities. As well, networking promotes the adaption of new techniques and provides feedback. Networking provides opportunities to compare methodologies, approaches, and to sharing information and knowledge. People in the network can identify mutual areas of interest and through it, collaborate on projects and activities.
For networking to be effective it must be structured under a clear mandate and it must be coordinated and supported. The IMFN will likely include elements related to common areas of interest such as communications, joint projects, periodic meetings and technical workshops, etc. Obligations in support of networking would depend on the elements selected and would have impact on the obligations assigned to model forests as well as to those partners in the IMFN. Coordination of networking through a Secretariat could provide additional benefits by providing linkages to international agencies and identifying opportunities for funding.
Other Key Elements and Issues and Advice to the IMFN Secretariat
There is a surprising commonality among various national programs that are similar to the Model Forest initiative. The partnerships may vary structurally yet the principles of participation are quite similar. This is indicative of a parallel evolution towards a collaborative management philosophy that is itself a reflection of societal values. An expansive network could greatly enhance the effectiveness of these various programs.
In providing advice to the IMFN, the working groups focussed on elements of the potential role and priorities in the IMFN as well as the issue of leadership and coordination of the IMFN.
The consensus was that networking in support of model forest initiatives needs to occur at local, regional, national, and international levels and for networking to be effective and efficient, it must be resourced and given structure and coordination. At the international level, there was seen to be a need for an IMFN secretariat which could focus efforts in a number of areas or elements including the following:
- capacity building (facilitating training and exchange of personnel)
- communications (development of communication strategies and plans; tools and means to connect model forests, other networks and institutions; databases, etc.)
- funding (developing strategies to identify and secure funding; assistance and information to those seeking resources; and funding for networking activities)
- indigenous people (focus and liaison capacity within the IMFN Secretariat)
- networking and strategic alliances (building linkages with other institutions, organizations and networks; and undertake efforts to expand participation in the IMFN)
- leadership (acting as an advocate and champion to advance model forest development and the IMFN; serving as a mentor, facilitator, coordinator and advisor in model forest development and in networking; and ensuring adherance to the fundamental principles which define the model forest concept)
- monitoring and evaluation (use of third party evaluations)
On numerous occasions the participants raised issues related to obligations and governance of an IMFN. These issues are relevant to the consultation process and will be addressed in detail as the consultation process proceeds past the initial discussions which are focussed on attributes, technical issues, and functions of the network.
The findings of this workshop will be incorporated with those of other regional and bilateral meetings in the IMFN consultation process and reported to participating countries and interested organizations.
The Oregon Workshop was held to provide an opportunity for model forest practitioners and those interested in learning more about the International Model Forest Network to meet and share experiences surrounding the following four thematic issues:
- partnership and collaboration: analysis of various approaches
- tools and infrastructure for decision making
- indicators of progress toward sustainable forest management
- using your networks
The workshop included working group discussions which focussed on these four themes. For each of these themes each of the five working group were asked to a) identify the keys to success, b) provide advice to the IMFN and the IMFNS in its related activities and c) identify "speed bumps" or obstacles in developing effective model forests.
The workshop also provided the opportunity to provide advice and council to the country-level consultation process surrounding the question of the future of the IMFN. On 16 October 1997, an informal meeting of heads of forestry agencies from 12 countries and the FAO was held during the World Forestry Congress in Antalya, Turkey. All of the countries present agreed to engage in a collective dialogue over the next 18 months to refine the criteria for model forests and to provide perspectives on their needs and expectations in networking, the role of model forests nationally and internationally, and approaches to coordinating and supporting an international network. The IMFN Secretariat has been assigned the role of facilitator to this consultation process. A series of regional and national meetings have been planned and the Oregon meeting is an informal part of the consultation process.
The objectives of the Oregon Workshop were articulated as follows:
- To meet and share experiences with regards to the establishment and management of model forests; in particular with regards to the selected themes of:
- Partnership and collaboration
- Tools and infrastructure for decision making
- Indicators of progress
- To identify the critical elements to success, the commonalities to success, and areas of uncertainty surrounding model forests and the model forest network; and to propose solutions for effectively dealing with identified issues.
- To provide advice and counsel to the country-level consultation process surrounding the question of the future of the IMFN.
The workshop was attended by 72 people. Seven countries and a number of non-government organizations participated in the workshop. All of the model forests in the Americas attended.
The keynote address, "Model Forests: More Thought Per Hectare", was delivered by Dr. John C. Gordon, Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
The first meeting held in support of the IMFN consultative process was hosted by the Japanese Forestry Agency. The "International Workshop on Model Forests for Field-Level Application of Sustainable Forest Management" was held in Tokyo from 10 to 12 March 1998. It was attended by 17 countries, 4 international organizations and 3 non-government organizations. The Tokyo workshop validated the key attributes of partnership which have been used to define model forests. Time however did not permit in-depth discussions of the needs and expectations of participants in model forests with respect to networking.
The Oregon Workshop began with an introduction by Mr. Fred Johnson of the IMFN Secretariat in which he highlighted the issues currently under discussion with respect to model forests and the future of the IMFN including the consultation process. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Ichiro Nagame, Forestry Agency, Japan, which highlighted the key findings of the Tokyo workshop. The Oregon workshop endorsed the findings of the Tokyo workshop. The workshop agenda was validated and designed to build on the results of the Tokyo workshop by expanding the deliberations with regard to networking, tools and infrastructure and indicators of progress.
The workshop participants were divided into five working groups. Each group was led by an independent facilitator. As noted above each working group was asked to a) identify the keys to success, b) provide advice to the IMFN and the IMFNS and c) identify "speed bumps" or obstacles in developing effective model forests.
Upon completion of the working group deliberations each group identified one individual per theme for reporting purposes. These individuals met in smaller group along thematic lines to exchange notes and prepare the four thematic reports in plenary. The following sections provide a summary, in bullet form, of these group reports. The notes which highlight the points raised in the individual working group discussions are found in Annex E. The key findings are not prioritized in either of the following summary reports nor the annexed working group notes.
The compilation of the key findings have been prepared by extracting common elements from the working group discussions, reports to plenary sessions and synthesis by the plenary facilitators. As such the key findings focus on those items/issues which were most commonly discussed. The exclusion of some of the points raised in the working group simply indicates that these issues where not discussed in sufficient detail to identify them as being commonly shared by the majority of the participants. Reports and notes from each of the Working Groups are provided in Annex E.
6.1 Partnership and Collaboration
As noted earlier the workshop was opened with a presentation from Mr. Ichiro Nagame in which he summarized the findings from the Tokyo Workshop. The Tokyo workshop validated the attributes and characteristics of the model forest concept and in particular the concept of broad-based partnerships which reflect the diversity of users and their range of needs from the forest. The Oregon Workshop further validated these attributes and advanced the deliberations by focussing more on partnership structures. Some of the key elements on which consensus was reached included the following:
- Partners agree to common vision, goals and objectives. As the partnership grows and matures these elements are revisited periodically.
- Partners agree on ground rules, guidelines and structures which define their specific decision making processes. The structures adopted must be compatible with the decision making process. They should also reflect the different cultural values in the partnership.
- The partnership must be open and inclusive.
- Members are willing and committed to the partnership/process for the long haul. There is a recognition that the model forest concept requires time and patience. Partners take on the responsibility of keeping their constituency informed.
- Trust and respect are essential to success. Traditional power structures are set aside and partners are open to influence from other partners in the decision making process.
- Intermittent processes will not achieve success. The processes must be continuous to facilitate commitment by the partners and a sense of accomplishment and benefits. They must also match the participants expectations while being realistic. Small continuous successes are most effective in developing a sense of accomplishment.
- The partnership process is not merely mechanical. It relates to humanity's place in the world, our spiritual values and our aspirations to be better world citizens.
6.2 Tools and Infrastructure for Decision Making
Of the four thematic issues, the discussions on tools and infrastructure for decision making were most closely linked to the workshop objective to "share experiences with regards to the establishment and management of model forests". In this regard the workshop provided a forum for model forest practitioners to learn from each other and for interested network participants to experience the benefits of being members of the IMFN. The participants noted that the term "tools" used in this discussion might more appropriately have been called "instruments". The participants placed emphasis on the following elements which were key in contributing to the success of their model forests:
- Model forests should be based upon a clear description of the model forest land base, including an accessible data base of the available resources and their condition. (e.g. data bases developed with geographic information systems technologies). These data bases should be meaningful and available to all partners.
- The development and implementation of education and extension activities including a focus on youth and elders.
- Identifying and improving methods and techniques for public involvement (networking and comparison/evaluation of the broad range of experiences across and beyond the network).
- Involving local leaders in planning, development and program delivery.
- Continuous/continuing government involvement is vital.
- Building capacity through the development of community created protocols for research/projects.
- Using appropriate technology for the task at hand and for the group involved (select the right tools). Technologies used should not be elitist, but should be available to all partners.
- Partners must be willing/motivated to explore different tools and techniques (stretching the envelope of comfort).
- For models to be useful, their assumptions must be understood and they must be used in a transparent fashion.
- Tools are used to support decision making. The tools should not "make" the decisions. The partnership should focus on the decision making process not the tools.
- Understanding the limitations and assumptions of tools and methods.
- Power must be shared and not dominated by single issues or by the more powerful partners.
6.3 Indicators of Progress Toward Sustainable Forest Management
The deliberations quickly came to the conclusion that different sets of indicators are required to measure progress of Model Forests and the IMFN towards the concept of sustainable forest management. Three levels were identified and their respective key elements of success are summarized as follows:
A) Indicators of Success at the Model Forest/International Model Forest Level
- The ability to develop and maintain a broad, diverse partnership base that would allow all who participate to evaluate the usefulness of their participation against their own desired objectives and those of the entire partnership
- Areas managed as part of the model forest program should demonstrate some type of "incremental" gain towards sustainable forest management when compared to neighbouring sites under a more "traditional" management regime
- Adoption of model forest ideals, concepts, and practices outside of the boundaries of the model forest land base will not only be a measure of success but will hopefully lead to continuation
- Scheduled independent evaluations should help to strengthen the local/national/international program(s) and build support for its management and direction
B) Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management at the Model Forest Level
- Sustainable forest management will be defined and ultimately achieved differently within the context of each model forest's unique ecological, economic, and social make up
- Indicators of sustainability will be required to address both processes (e.g. biological, social, cultural) and things (products and living things)
- Indicators must be selected that are fundamental enough to survive continual improvement and refinement without having to begin the process over and over again
- "Ownership " of indicators is vital to ensure that they, and the process of monitoring progress, continue to survive after the model forests
- Indicators must be clearly defined, easily understood, adaptive, practical, feasible, repeatable
- Indicators must be "nested" to ensure that they measure and reflect links between changes in ecological, economic, and social circumstances over time
C) Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management at the International Model Forest Network/Global Level
- Criteria generated by the Montreal Process provide a suitable "starting point" for the practice of sustainable forest management (i.e. ecological, economic, and social foundation)
- Sustainable forest management and sustainability must be looked at in a truly global context (i.e. conservation or preservation in one area may ultimately result in a simple transfer of consumptive pressures to another)
6.4 Using Your Networks
The participants developed a long list of the potential benefits of networking and elements to success. The detailed listing is found in annex E which is summarized as follows:
- The synergy provided through networks supports the credence that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"
- Effective networking helps to build capacity at all levels. The benefits extend beyond give and take and include - learning leadership and building confidence
- Networking provides greater efficiency of the partnership and the implementation of model forest activities. Networks help to bring rapid feedback about what you are doing - increases speed of adaptation.
- Networking may be more beneficial when resources are being cut
- They provide opportunities to compare methodologies, approaches, and to sharing information. They help to recognize that you have interests and issues in common (migratory birds, monarch butterflies)
- Unanticipated opportunities happen by being involved in a network
- For the Network to be effective it must be coordinated, resourced and have a clearly defined mandate. This mandate will likely include elements related to common areas of interest and activities such as communications, joint projects, periodic meetings and workshops, and participation in sub-regional or thematic network activities
- The mandate for the Network will also define the obligations assigned to model forests and partners in model forests
- In addition to a coordinating role, a secretariat to the Network could provides links to international agencies and assist in identifying opportunities for funding.
6.5 Other Key Elements and Issues
In addition to the thematic discussions a number of other issues were raised during the course of the workshop. These issues were beyond the scope and objectives of this workshop however they are relevant to the Network and to the IMFN consultation process. These additional issues are summarized as follows:
All of the views expressed indicated that there was strong support for the IMFN. The Networks focus on people, technologies and research, and on sustainable development, positions it well to address the broad range of issues associated with the rapidly changing interface between people and forests. The model forest concept can provide a link to understanding the interactions between societal values, benefits and forest management practices. Model forests can be used to demonstrate this understanding into our natural resource management decisions and practices.
There is a surprising commonality among various national programs that are similar to the Model Forest initiative. The partnerships may vary yet the principles of participation are quite similar. This is indicative of a parallel evolution towards this management philosophy that is itself a reflection of societal values. An effective network could greatly enhance the effectiveness of these various programs.
It was suggested that some future model forests might not be officially endorsed by a national government. In these instances, if the fundamental principles which define a model forest are adhered to, then the IMFN should give consideration to formally including these model forests in the Network.
On numerous occasions the participants recognized that participation in the Network would include obligations to support the Network. Similarly issues related to governance at all levels of an international network were raised. Upon completion of the first round of the consultation process, (focussing on the attributes, technical issues, and function of the network), the issues related to obligations and governance will need to be addressed.
The advice from the working group deliberations focussed on elements of the potential role for the Network as well as a coordinating body such as the IMFN Secretariat. The consensus of workshop participants was that networking in support of model forest initiatives needs to occur at local, regional, national and international levels and for networking to be effective and efficient it must be resourced and given structure and coordination. At the international level, there was seen to be a need for an IMFN Secretariat which could focus efforts in a number of areas or elements including the following:
- capacity building
- indigenous peoples
- networking and strategic alliances
- leadership and principals
- monitoring and evaluation
There was significant overlap in the advice provided by the four thematic discussion groups which was summarized collectively as follows:
- Need for continued efforts for cross training and personnel exchange among model forests
- Facilitate training between communities of model forests.
- Develop innovative and progressive means in order to make modern technologies available to the various model forests.
- Develop a communications strategy and plan which has a defined structure that is well known by all model forests and model forest partners. The structure should support self-directive approaches to accessing information.
- Identify connections to other appropriate networks.
- Use the Internet for discussions between model forests.
- Develop and maintain a database by projects for various locations.
- Recognizing connotations and nuances from a cultural perspective is very important. The IMFN home page should be developed so it provides for common recognition by model forests throughout the network.
- Communications systems must be simple. They must recognize different network needs for information sharing, different communications systems and capacities, and language differences and constraints.
- All model forests have a responsibility to share and exchange information. The IMFNS should act as a clearing house to facilitate this exchange.
- Network communications need to improve. If the network functions well, it will be resilient to changes.
- A strategy should be developed to identify and secure funding. These funds should come from a broad range of sources (private industrial, NGO's, governments, etc.) thereby reducing the current high level of reliance on funding from governments.
- The IMFNS should provide assistance in identifying funding sources and the respective funding requirements. This information should be shared throughout the Network.
- The funding requirements and sources of funds need to be identified to support Network-wide activities and functions (e.g. workshops, communications, Secretariat, etc.)
- Develop an indigenous people's liaison group/capacity (within the Secretariat office) for incorporating their needs into the IMFN.
- The Secretariat must support and strengthen model forest capacities to recognize and incorporate aboriginal and other dependent community values.
Networking and Stratgic Alliances
- Model forests and the IMFN should take advantage of existing networks. The secretariat should pursue links with existing organizations which have networks related to forestry (e.g. FAO, IUFRO, IUCN, CIFOR, Research and development groups outside of usual forestry groups).
- Informal networks that grow as a result of personal contacts and information can help support model forest development informally within a country. This process can provide to model forest partners, including governments, of new ways do things more effectively.
- The IMFN should conduct periodic workshops to meet specific regional or thematic requests from model forests.
- The IMFNS should provide tools for outreach to facilitate expanded membership into the IMFN.
- Individual model forest partners must share and take responsibility for networking.
Leadership and Principles
- The IMFNS should act as a catalyst to support new model forests and developments within model forests and the IMFN.
- Act as an advocate of being a model forest and champion the opportunities associated with being a model forest and being a member of the IMFN.
- A definition of what it means to be part of the IMFN should be prepared. In addition it is suggested that consideration be given to the preparation of a handbook on how to become a model forest.
- The IMFNS should act as a watchdog to ensure that, as the Network grows, the fundamental principles which define the model forest concept are adhered to.
- The IMFN should develop a coherent strategy including priorities for networking which is built from the model forest level up through the regional, national and international levels.
- The Secretariat should serve as a mentor, facilitator, coordinator, adviser and expediter.
- Focus is on model forests as opposed to making the IMFN a "player" in the international policy dialogue.
- The Secretariat will work for members in the Network and in so doing recognize different needs in different countries and regions.
- The IMFN and the IMFNS should, whenever feasible, use third party evaluation and monitoring process to assess indicators of progress.