2. Goals in Different Contexts

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Forestry and the general goals of society

It is generally agreed that the goals of forestry policy should be in accordance with and subordinated to general national goals. If this is not accomplished, it is difficult to get political support into the program (and receive sufficient financing). This also illustrates the hierarchical nature of goals. Furthermore, forest policy goals serve as a means to fulfill overall national development goals.

Different goals for different ownership groups

According to Grayson (1993, p. 6-7) there are two principal reasons for suggesting that policies towards specific groups of owners should be distinguished. The first is that it is pointless to establish objectives where implementation is not practical. Secondly, a policy consisting of a statement of objectives for a given ownership group does not constitute a policy (if government intervention is not necessary in order to achieve that objective). The specifics of this proposed implementation measure will then become an essential part of the policy.

Finland used to have different forest laws for private forests and state forests. The goals formulated for the latter traditionally included much wider social and environmental responsibilities, when compared to this traditional and concise statement of purpose for private forests along the lines that "Forests shall not be destroyed." The 1996 Forest Act introduced the same general goal formulations both for private and state forests.

The importance of quantitative (but realistic) targets

As one moves towards more specific goals, as those in national forest programmes or in medium term (3 – 10 year) forest development plans, the key issue is that the objectives and targets are quantified wherever appropriate and possible.

The benefits of quantitative targets are many. They immediately bring realism into the target setting both in terms of what has to be achieved (i.e., in wood production and nature conservation development) and the impact of one target (say wood production increase) on another (i.e., nature conservation development). The third and most important aspect of realism comes from the fact that quantitative targets provide a possibility to calculate the costs of each target and thus help in planning (or whether the programme can be financed).

Table P1: Forest policy goal formulations in some countries

USA (Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960
It is a policy of the Congress that national forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes.

"Multiple use" means the management of all the various renewable surface resources of the national forests so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the needs of the American people.

"Sustained yield of the several products and services" means the achievement and maintenance on perpetuity of a high level annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources of the national forest without impairment of the productivity of the land.

RUSSIA (The principles of Forest Legislation of the Russian Federation, 1993)

Forest management should ensure the maintenance and strengthening of the environmental and other beneficial functions of forests, sustainable forest use and conservation of biological diversity.

(Federal Forest Service of Russia 1994): To manage forests with the object of protecting biodiversity of forest ecosystems, regulating carbon budget and ensuring sustainable development of forest sector economy.

To develop national forest policy directed at reduction of final clear cutting, suspension of applying environmentally destructive harvesting technology and increase of reforestation activities.
SWEDEN (Revised Forestry Act of 1994)
The forest is a National resource. It shall be managed in such a way as to provide a valuable yield and at the same time preserve biodiversity. Forest management shall also take into account other public interests.

Normally, if additional funds are needed for financing, the benefits of the proposed programme against its costs should be assessed as well. This is necessary so that the government can evaluate the purposefulness of the proposed programme. It will also be in a better position to make comparisons and choices between financial demands coming from different sectors of society. If it is anticipated that additional finances for the programme will be difficult to obtain, then the planning process will be obliged to prioritize targets so that it can be implemented within a realistic time frame with appropriate funding.

One can see that quantitative targets can provide excellent possibilities to implement the programme. Targets can be divided operationally via region and local units, by other operational organizations. Furthermore, the monitoring of the implementation can be easy, provided the necessary corrective measures are reported from the onset.

The emphasis given to the quantitative specification of (sub) goals in forest policy whenever it is possible and reasonable is not a new aspect in forestry. In most countries it follows a long tradition in forest management and policy. The importance of economic analysis as a base for goal setting and for scaling forest programmes – cannot be over emphasized. Due to competition for public or private funds for forest development, forestry has to present sound economic arguments. The joint challenge both for economic and policy analyses comes from the fact that the role of qualitative goals for forestry has largely increased. This is related to new or increased demands for the multiple benefits of forests and is also due to new ways and much needed processes for goal setting (for forests this is implementing the goals and targets).

One Response to “2. Goals in Different Contexts”

  1. Trinh Dinh Hoang Says:
    Hello, I am a MSc. student doing a comparison analysis of forest policy reform in four South-east Asian countries. The analysis includes changes in the clusters: forest policy goals, policy lines, legislation, planning and institutions. Could somebody advise me about criteria for comparing the changes/reforms between the countries. For example what criteria/ aspects should I look at when comparing forestry goals between the countries? Thank you! Hoang

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