Integrating Ecological and Socioeconomic Monitoring of Working Forests

This is an interesting paper from the August 2011 issue of BioScience. Be sure to check it out!

RACHEL A. NEUGARTEN, STEVEN A. WOLF, RICHARD C. STEDMAN, AND TIMOTHY H. TEAR

Large-scale sell-offs of industrial timberlands in the United States have prompted public and private investments in a new class of “working forest” land deals, notable for their large size and complex divisions of property rights. These transactions have been pitched as “win-win-win” deals that provide social, economic, and ecological benefits. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested in these transactions, we found a paucity of evidence that their supposed benefits are being realized. Monitoring programs necessary to gather such evidence tend to be underfunded, short term, and focused on a limited set of indicators. The few projects with more comprehensive monitoring programs had long-term funding sources, formal mechanisms for incorporating data into subsequent management decisions, and combined multidisciplinary monitoring techniques. We propose that a relatively modest allocation of funds to monitoring could help assessand hopefully improvethe effectiveness of current and future transactions, to see if the promise of “win-win-win” is actually delivered.

BioScience6l: 631-637. ISSN 0006-3568, electronic ISSN 1525-3244. © 2011 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press’s Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/ reprintinfo.asp. doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.8.10 www.biosciencemag.org August 2011 / Vol. 61 No. 8 • BioScience