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Monitoring and information reporting for sustainable forest management in North America and Europe : requirements, practices and perceptions Hickey, Gordon M.

Abstract

Internationally, the institutions created to address forest management have ranged from hard laws, put in place by governments through legislation, to soft laws such as forest certification. Each of these approaches requires enforcement and evaluation through monitoring and information reporting. Monitoring is central to a jurisdiction's understanding of the resources that it manages and the values that it aims to protect. It is also an essential component of adaptive management. Monitoring and information reporting for sustainable forest management (SFM) in selected jurisdictions in North America and Europe were investigated through applied grounded theory, multiple case studies and survey analysis methods. The research considered the requirements documented in hard and soft law standards, the practices of third-party certified forestry companies and the perceptions of forestry-related stakeholders in the selected jurisdictions. The analysis of the monitoring and information reporting requirements documented in selected hard law standards indicated that despite differences in the level of detail, general similarities existed in different jurisdictions. The analysis of soft law standards demonstrated a high degree of variability in the specific requirements related to monitoring and information reporting. Significant differences were found to exist between the soft law standards from Europe, USA and Canada. The multiple case study analysis highlighted differences in the level of formal monitoring and information reporting being conducted at the smaller scales of forest management when compared to the larger forestry companies. It also revealed a high level of similarity in the nature of monitoring and information reporting practices both within and between different jurisdictions of North America and Europe. The results of the survey research highlighted the degree to which the perceptions of a sample of stakeholders can differ between Europe, USA and Canada. An obvious disparity was observed between the results from Canada and the rest of the sample, indicating a stronger perceived need for more data and information related to forest management in the Canadian context. The results have broad applicability beyond a local geographical or ecological situation as evidenced through the international focus of the study and the broad participation of industry from North America and Europe.

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