Recommendations for Stewardship of the National Forests and Grasslands

into the Next Century


Committee of Scientists

JUNE 23,1998

National Forests are made for and owned by the people. They should also be managed by the people. They are made not to give the officers in charge of them a chance to work out theories, but to give the people who use them and those who are affected by their use a chance to work out their own best profit. This means that if national forests are going to accomplish anything worthwhile, the people must know all about them, must take an active part in their management. . . .

Gifford Pinchot, Chief of the Forest Service (1907)

Right up front, I clearly state, without equivocation, that these are our lands today — the lands of all the people. These are our lands — they belong to us lock, stock and barrel. And they will be our lands and our children’s and our children’s children’s lands far into the future unless we, as a people, through carelessness or apathy or conscious choice, allow that precious heritage to be sold or traded away for pottage.

Jack Ward Thomas, Chief of the Forest Service (1996)




A.Ecological Sustainability
B.Economic and Social Sustainability
C.Indian Treaty Rights
A.Diversity of plant and animal communities and productive capacity of the land (includes the "Introduction to the Ecological Sustainability Reg" which is now at the end of 2A Ecological Sustainability as and the actual Ecological Sustainability Reg which is currently in the Recommendations section as Recommendation 2)
B. Watersheds
C. Identifying the Suitability of Lands for Resource Production
D. Silviculture and the Sustained Yield of Timber
A. Goals for Planning and a Proposed Structure
B. Challenge of Science-Based Planning
C. Monitoring and Adaptive Management
A.The Budget Process
B.Other Laws
Chapter Seven:CONCLUSION

Identifying the Suitability of Lands for Resource Production
Section 6(g) is the heart of NFMA. It is the section that outlines the requirements that planning must meet including the diversity of plant and animal communities to meet multiple use objectives, ensuring that timber will be harvested only where watersheds will not be irreversibly damaged, and that clearcutting will be used only where it is the optimum method. Section 6(g) is stated in the law as the section to which the Committee of Scientists named in the Act should direct its attention.
The very first requirement in Section 6 (g) is that guidelines be developed which "...require identification of the suitability of lands for resource management." The COS feels that these guidelines should be an important tool in planning.
This section was eclipsed in the previous regs by Section 6 (k) which requires the identification of lands not suited for timber production. In the recommendations below the COS places identification of the lands not suited for timber production as a subset of the identification of the suitability of lands for resource management.

General Approach

Resources considered: timber harvest, grazing, recreation, and mining.
Require development of ecological, economic, and social criteria for use in the identification.
Take a two-phased approach: 1) Ecological criteria (screen) , 2) For those lands that meet the ecological criteria, apply economic and social considerations.
Require, to the degree possible, that lands suitable for management of the different resources be mapped.


The primary purpose of land and resource planning on the national forests is to sustain our watersheds, forests and rangelands and provide for the multiple use of these lands.

of ecosystems will be maintained and restorAs discussed in other sections, the most fundamental goal of the National Forest System is to maintain and restore ecological sustainability — the long-term maintenance of the diversity of native plant and animal communities and the productive capacity of ecological systems. To achieve this goal, planning must apply the best available scientific information and analysis so that the diversity and adaptive capability of ecosystems will be maintained and restored.
Building on the foundation of sustainable ecological sustainabilitysystems, planning should provide for human use that contributes to our economic and cultural systems and to our communities. To accomplish this goal, planning should seek to provide a wide variety of uses, products, values, and services.


Over the last 400 years, sustaining the productive capacity of its forests has been an over-riding goal of public forestry. First in Europe and then in the United States, foresters have attempted to meet this goal by providing a sustained yield of commercial timber volume. . As in Europe, the emergence of forestry in the United States in the late nineteen century occurred after a long period of deforestation due to rapid harvest to clear lands for agriculture and settlement, build cities, provide fuel for individuals and commerce, and ship lumber to foreign markets. The concept of sustained yield forestry This approach stood in stark contrast to the this rapid harvest.

The forest reserve movement at the end of the 19th century sought to protect watersheds and the productive capacity of the forests by creating public forests. Advocates of forestry and conservation argued that a public forestry based on sustained yield principles would provide for both ecological and social sustainability---overexplotiation of resources was prevented and a continuous supply of wood would be available to help stabilize communities.

From the very beginning, Forest planning on thefor the use and management of the forest reserves, later renamed the National Forests, began with an has traditionally been organized around the analysis analysis of a the sustained yield of timber. The size of the planning area considered started wasas a "working circle," or an area sufficient large enough to provide a local mill with sufficient timber on a continuing basis, and evolved into the area of a national. forest. Much Management analysis went intofocused on timber yield estimates, the effects of intensive management, and the environmental and economic implications of allowing a short periods of higher harvest levels as compared to a than en "even-flow" policy. Regulation of use (timber, grazing, mining, and recreation) and protection (from fire, insects and disease, and poor timber harvest practices) were the primary roles of public forest managers.

NFMA was written at a time of change in public values as expressed in the Wilderness Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act to name only a few of the numerous environmental protection laws of the time. The NFMA called for public forest management to explicitly address the environmental consequences of commercial timber harvest and to designate areas that were unsuitable for timber harvest as a result of environmental considerations. Thus, "forest planning" The last round of planning focused on determining the sustained yield level of timber harvest on for each national forest, subject to providing at least minimal levels of protection for species and ecosystems.

As planning developed in the 1980s,In the 1980s both scientific knowledge of ecosystems grew rapidly and new analysis technologies allowed complex interactions to be understood and predicted based on different management scenarios. Management strategies based on sustained yield of timber simply did not provide adequate protection it became clear that the protection forof many plant and animal species and or for ecosystems ecological system functions necessary for long term productivity. had to be centrally addressed to ensure ecological sustainability, and the emphasis on a sustained yield of timber to accomplish this function faded. Also In addition, in a dynamic global economy, a, it became clear that an localized emphasis on a sustained yield supply of commercial timber would could not ensure provide neither economic nor community stability in a dynamic economy.

But the forest planning process was too far down the tract track to recall. So the heart of the plans continued to be a sustained yield of commercial timber volume. And, once completed, they were almost immediately made obsolete, in many parts of the country,, at least in the West, by the emerging emphasis on the conservation of the diversity of plants and animals to ensure ecological sustainabilityecological sustainability.

The purpose of this section suggest a planning structure that first recognizes the maintenance of sustainable ecological systems as the foundation of national forest management and then, within that context, attempts to provide sustainable contributions to the social and economic well-being of communities and the nation.. This chapter builds upon the existing legal framework for planning and management in the Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (RPA) as amended by the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA). We begin with a discussion of the national assessment, program, and annual report as required by the RPA. To provide a context in which to understand the current and proposed planning structure, we describe the key elements of the current system of plans. We then turn to a new conceptual framework for information gathering, strategic planning and implementation planning.


The RPA assessment was intended to be a vehicle by which the status of all lands and resources in the United States can be periodically assessed relative to current conditions and future expectations. It has especially emphasized the supply and demand for the different multiple uses such as timber and recreation across the different ownerships. It has been less successful in characterizing ecological conditions, especially those that have a strong regional flavor such as threatened and endangered species. In reality, the RPA assessment cannot be expected to provide a detailed evaluation of ecological sustainability in the different regions of the country. Providing that information, the basis of planning for sustainability, needs to be done through regional assessments as discussed below.

Still, the RPA assessment can contribute to national forest planning in a number of ways: 1) It shapes our understanding of the conditions on all forest and range lands across the country as well as likely demand and supply considerations. The regional analyses on forest and rangeland trends on nonfederal ownerships are especially valuable. 2) It provides for linkage to international ecological and social issues like the role of forests in addressing global climate change policy, protecting biodiversity, and sustaining temperate and tropical forests. 3) It provides a forum for discussing the institutional and policy framework for sustainability on diverse ownerships, including the principles and mechanisms for sustainable forest management on private forest lands. 4) It can highlight ecological systems at risk.

The RPA program Program was envisioned as a master plan for the management of the national forests, giving the inputs (especially budgets) that would be needed to provide high levels of outputs (especially commodities). It has rarely worked as intended in the 25 years since its passage. The RPA programProgram, for all its good intentions, called for input and output goals that become divorced from the land and the dynamic management that goes on at the local level. Its targets have forever lagged behind the changing conditions and values expressed at each unique National Forest and Ranger District. In addition, both Presidents and Congress haves largely ignored theis programProgram, responding more directly to its their own priorities for management of the National Forests and the realities of a limited budgets. Similarly, the both Regions and National Forests have largely ignored the RPA program in planning---not a surprising result since it is difficult to express the goals for management of the each National Forest as a set of functional resource production targets set at the national level.

We believe that the RPA program Program (and its successor) could provide overall policy guidance for the National Forests by recognizing their role in the context of other ownerships, as specifically required in the law. At its best, the RPA program can be a strategic vision of the management emphasis for the national forests in the context of the management of all lands, including lands in other countries, pointing out the unique contributions of the National Forests. With this vision the RPA program can be used as awould be a policy guide to when developing the large and small landscape plans discussed below. As an example, the recent statement of the Chief of the Forest Service regarding the importance of watershed protection to achieving ecological sustainability are the beginnings of such a strategic vision.


Current Approach

The planning regulations now in effect were , approved in 1982 and , resulted created in three sub-national planning levels in addition to national RPAAssessment and Program. Each planning level is considered a NEPA action, and thus has an EA or an EIS associated with it:

Type of plan/
responsible official
Geographic boundary Purpose
Regional guide ChiefForest Service Region Reflects RPA goals and objectives; Displays tentative RPA resource objectives (targets) for each planning area; contains standards and guidelines for addressing the major issues which need to be considered at the regional level to facilitate planning (maximum clearcut sizes, approp. silvic. method, management strategies for wide- ranging species)
Forest plan/
National ForestDevelop multiple use goals and objectives, identify the quantities of goods and services to be produced, subject to minimum management requirements for protection of wildlife habitat, soil and water quality. Ensure viability of vertebrate species. Provide for ecological sustainability and Forester Amultiple use; address s a multitude of local isissues and develop alternatives showing minimum resource development and maximum biological potential, with costs and benefits. Toward these purposes, allocate land among different management emphases, set standards and guidelines for mgt. within each emphasis, calculate the land suitable for timber production, calculate an upper limit on timber removals, estimate ecological, economic, and social effects on a programmatic basis; set project goals and aggregate budget and human resource requests for projects. Develop monitoring and evaluation requirements. At least one alternative was to be directed toward meeting the RPA targets stated in Regional Guidance.
ProjectDepends on objective of project Proposes actions to achieve goals of plan, assess site-specific effects;estimate budget needed and outputs that will result. Mitigate adverse environ. effects

Assessments "Analysis of the management situation," including demand and supply conditions for resource commodities and services and production potentials, wasare developed, as neede an initial step in the planning process at both the Regional and National Forest levels. These analyses were production oriented: benchmark analysis of the minimum and maximum physical and biological production capabilities of significant goods and services with associated costs and benefits; monetary benchmarks that maximize present net value of major commodity resources; estimates of current production of goods and services; projections of demand; potential of resolving public issues; and a ‘need for change’ analysis..

Proposed Approach

Our proposed approach retains three hierarchical planning levels, although they have been somewhat altered,, but organizes them according to ecological boundaries rather than administrative divisions, and separates the assessment information gathering from planning.

a) Assessments

Type			Geographic			Purpose

Bioregional             Ecological		Assess ecological sustainability (species
                         			viability and ecosystem integrity) under
			                        current polices across all ownerships.
                                                Suggest strategies for sustaining ecological
                                                systems where problems are detected.
                                                Assess the current and potential
                                                contributions of the national forests
                                                to economic and social well-being.

Watershed		Landform		Use information from bioregional assessments 					            assessments                                     and large landscape plans to
(landscape					refine desired future condition and pathways
assessments)					to that condition; address local
                                                issues of ecological sustainability and
						multiple use.

b) Plans

Type of plan/		Geographic			Purpose
responsible		boundary

Bioregional	        Ecological		Provide strategies to ensure sustainable
guidance/Regional 				ecological systems (species viability and
Forester  					ecosystem integrity) across large areas.

Large landscape	        Ecological		Interpret strategies for ecological
plans/						sustainability and provide for multiple use;
Forest						address local issues; set desired future
Supervisor(s)					condition for different parts of the landscape
						and actions permitted within them, choose
 						strategic pathway to move toward desired
                                                condition, set input and outcome measures
						for judging progress toward desired
                                                condition, set land suitable for resource management,
                                                estimate ecological, economic, and social contributions
                                                on a programmatic basis.

Small			Ecological		Propose actions that move toward desired
landscape					future conditions; consider all projects in
						combination to the degree possible within
						the planning area;  estimate site-specific
						effects; estimate budgets needed for action,
						estimate outcomes that will result, estimate
                                                cumulative effects, provide context for

The following schematic represents our overall process:

Bioregional                           	Bioregional guidance
assessment ------------------>  for ecological sustainability
    l					D
    l					D
    l					V
    l--------------------------------->Large landscape plans
    l	 D D D D D D D D D "Strategic plans"
    l	D				D	V
    l	D				D	l
    l	D				D	l
    l	D				D	l
    V	V				V	l
Watershed--------------------->Small landscape plans
(landscape)			"Implementation plans"
assessment					D

Information flows: ------------->    or     l     or   V
					    l          l
					    V          l

Decision flows:   D
where   V  or >   indicates the end of an arrow.

(In the interest of simplicity, many of the feed back loops on the diagram have been omitted.)

The Role of the "Traditional" Land and Resource Plan for a National Forest.

NFMA calls for an integrated land and resource plan to be developed for each National Forest. Where does that fit here. In some cases, the area of a large landscape plan will be identical to that covered by an individual national forest or a cluster of national forests. In those cases the land and resource plan called for under NFMA would be equivalent to the large landscape plan. In many cases, though, different areas on a national forest will be part of different large landscape plans.

Regardless of the boundary used for planning , it is important to integrate all planning direction into a single document a the appropriate scale. One problem created by varying the scales and boundaries of planning is the creation of multiple overlapping planning direction for a single national forest unit. This is confusing not only to the public, but also to the field personnel charged with implementing the plan who must refer to the planning direction and resolve differences in that direction among multiple planning documents

Thus, individual national forest plans still have an important role in compiling the results of large landscape plans and connecting them to with specific actions, ie., with small landscape plans. These plans are a logical focal point for summarizing budgets and staffing needs for proposed activities, measuring performance, and monitoring results. These plans provide a framework for administration of a NF in a context of federal agencies and jurisdictions, state and local governments, tribes, local associations and other landowners. We envision the "Forest Plan" as a "living document" holding in its covers the current agreements and strategies affecting a particular national forest or grassland.

The boundaries of national forests may not be appropriate as planning units, but they can be the primary administrative unit for carrying out management of these lands.

We would predict that each of the three levels in the planning hierarchy described above would need a NEPA document--an EIS or EA associated with it. We believe that, as described here, the ‘Forest Plan" would not be part of a NEPA process when it served as a vehicle for compiling the results of a set of large landscape plans and small landscape plans.

The Key Elements in our Proposal

In general, we believe that the three-tiered planning framework that has developed based on the existing (1982) regulations is sound: 1) overall guidance at the "regional" level, 2) a second level, smaller in geographic scope although still perhaps covering millions of acres, at which the long-term plan is developed considering the multitude of issues that surface during the planning process, and 3) a site-specific level to develop the actions needed to carry out the long-term plan. Based on the experience of the last 20 years, though, we would suggest a number of changes and refinements in this overall approach to better address the provision of ecological and social sustainability. Many of these suggested changes are already being tried in different regions across the country; in fact we learned of many of them from the critiques that the Forest Service and others have done about planning and from our meetings across the country with Forest Service employees and the public. We have listed 14 key elements of our proposal below:

1) Recognize assessment as a separate task. In the past, the analysis of ecological and social conditions and trends was done, to one degree or another, as part of regional guidance and national forest planning. We believe that assessment should be recognized as a separate task for a number of reasons.. This assessment now has a heavy science component that did not exist before, making it more logical to do as a discrete package. Assessments are not decisions and should not be made to function under the NEPA processes associated with planning. By recognizing assessment as a separate task, everyone in the assessment process will more easily focus on conditions, trends, problems and risks instead of the development of planning alternatives. In this process, it will still be important to retain the linkage between assessment and planning: the primary purpose of assessments is to develop information on ecological and social sustainability so that planning can proceed.

2) Use ecological boundaries for assessment and planning. In the past, planning boundaries were generally based on political/social boundaries--states, national forests, timber sale boundaries. Over the last 20 years, it has increasingly become recognized that planning to ensure ecological sustainability needs to use ecological boundaries-- such as range boundaries or key species, major watersheds, mountain ranges, vegetative types---to enable the development of comprehensive plans for the conservation of species and ecosystems and to measure the cumulative effects of proposed actions. This recommendation would affect all levels of planning: 1) "regions" would be based on ecological criteria rather than follow Forest Service Regional boundaries. Examples are the regions defined by the range of the northwest spotted owl, the watershed formed by the Columbia River, and the vegetative/watershed boundary for the Southern Appalachian Assessment;. 2) "large large landscape plans" would be based on a logical ecological unit for planning and administration, which include a single national forest, a cluster of national forests, or pieces of one or more national forests. Examples would be individual watersheds within the Columbia River, the collection of watersheds containing the three southern Idaho National Forests, or the northern, central, and southern parts of the Sierra Nevada;, 3) "small landscape plans" for implementation would be based on ecological boundaries that are large enough to provide a context for action and to measure cumulative effects and small enough to enable site-specific analysis of proposed actions. Examples are the Little Applegate River on the Rogue River NF, the Seven Buttes area of the Deschutes NF, and , and the Chattooga Watershed Conservation Plan in the Southeast.

Drift Creek on the Siuslaw.

3) Consider the larger landscape in which the national forests sit to understand the role of the national forests in ensuring ecological sustainability and contributing to human use. Past national forest planning tended to look inward at what the forests can produce rather than outward at the larger landscape and the special contribution that the national forests can make. Ideally, land and resource planning integrates the broader geographic, political, and social landscape with the potential contributions of the national forests, rangelands, watersheds and grasslands. Maintaining the diversity of native plant and animal communities and the productive capacity of ecological systems usually depends, in part, upon the activities on other public, tribal, state and private lands. Thus, the planning process must be outward looking with the goal of understanding the broader landscape in which the national forests and grasslands are located.

4) Address all federal lands and work with all affected federal agencies in a coordinated fashion. Past national forest planning tended to go its own way. We have realized that effective assessment and planning for our federal lands requires a coordinated approach across affected federal agencies. Federal agencies have made great strides in improving their coordination in recent years, such as the interagency development of the Northwest Forest Plan. Still much work needs to be done. The Committee has repeatedly heard that state, tribal, and private groups are becoming overwhelmed by the multitude and complexity of federal land and resource planning processes.

Federal agencies should coordinate their planning processes, especially where there are adjacent federal managers within a regional landscape (Applegate sidebar).

Harmonizing and coordinating the different statutory priorities, geographic areas of consideration and implementation time frames of the various federal agencies is no small task, but the potential benefits are enormous. Integrating and coordinating these separate planning processes is essential to developing integrated strategies for ecological and social sustainability and for adapting these strategies over time.

Despite differences among agency programs, the principles and recommendations set out in this report have broad application among the various federal agencies responsible for management or regulation of natural resources. Integrated federal planning will not magically solve difficult scientific and social issues, but it should enhance public understanding and confidence in the various federal planning and regulatory programs. And it should provide the public with a clearer picture of desired future conditions for entirefor entire landscapes, from watersheds to river basins (Sidebar with a check list for the public to judge whether coordinated planning is occurring including whether agencies jointly plan and map their activities, whether they have synchronized their strategic planning, etc.). With the federal shop in order, collaboration with state and tribal governments, groups, and the public will be made more efficient and effective.

5) Take a collaborative approach In the past, the Forest Service has taken the approach of the national forests proposing the choices for management and then asking other governments and the public how much they liked them. We believe that planning will be more successful if it takes a "collaborative" approach involving people, communities, tribes, businesses and governments.

Collaboration, quite simply, is based on the old "adage that ‘two heads are better than one’ and that one by itself is simply not good enough!" (Gray, 1989) Two heads can be "better" in many different ways. They bring more issues, perspectives, and ideas to discussions. They bring more resources, time and energy to the resolution of issues and the implementation of plans. They foster better decisions; decisions that are better informed, better understood, better accepted, and more apt to be implemented.

With such a simple premise, but applied to so many varied contexts, it is not surprising that "collaboration" is not a uniformly structured process. Instead, collaborative processes work precisely because they are always tailored to fit the particular situation of concern. Consequently, there are many varied shapes, sizes, functions and outcomes of collaborative processes that can be observed across the landscape of resource management activity. What is important is not the precise formula or the rigid structure but rather that each is guided by some fundamental principles. They strive to be inclusive, open, representative, guided by clear expectations and objectives, flexible, but at the same time, linked to existing law and procedures, and having clear decision rules and authorities. They build on current scientific understandings and knowledge and seek out relevant expertise as needed. They are not democracy run amok.

There is no magic to collaboration. And, there are only two key ingredients that must be present and that all successful collaborative efforts share in common. Effective collaborative efforts involve individuals who, first, share, share a concern about a place, an issue or a problem and, second, are committed to working together on its behalf. Shared concerns and commitment are the essential ingredients. It is worth noting that one element in many of the promising approaches that COS heard about was that those individuals involved -- Forest Service and non-Forest Service alike -- viewed what they were doing to be an experiment and learned and adapted accordingly. They were "in it together" and consequently expectations and behaviors within the process were very different than they were in the traditional planning process; views of responsibilities differed; the Forest Service planner’s role was more flexible and adaptive; hence, those involved seemed more open, forgiving and motivated by the process. This is what collaboration is all about, working together on issues of mutual concern in a manner that best fits the needs of the people, place, and issues of concern.

In sumIn sum, sustainability can be better achieved by taking an integrative approach that works with people, communities, tribes, businesses and governments to conserve the lands within and around the national forests and grasslands. Policies and projects will need to be developed and implemented through collaborative relationships within clusters of organizations – other public agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, community associations, and interested citizens – based on shifting alliances centered around the accomplishment of specific programs or policies. No longer can agencies acting alone carry out conservation strategies that involve large areas, numerous resources, and multiple interested parties. Rather, effective planning and implementation entails building strong relationships with other organizations whose programs can contribute to achieve a common goal.

6) Focus regional guidance on the development of scientifically credible strategies for ecological sustainable use. In the past regional plans often fell short in their guidance on ecological sustainability. National forests, as a result, was were left without a firm foundation on which to build their plans. Significant effort in the future in bioregional planning must be placed on constructing scientifically-based strategies for the conservation of species and ecosystems.

7) Focus large landscape planning on desired future conditions and outcomes and on the pathway to achieve these desired states. In the past, national forest planning often focused on the short-term issues of land allocation and timber harvest levels. While these are still important issues, we believe that, consistent with the emphasis on ecological and social sustainability, national forest planning should emphasize the development of desired longdesired long-term landscape conditions and outcomes that will provide this sustainability. We believe that establishing these long-term goals is the most constructive place to start in the collaborative planning of the future and essential as a guide for management. Using information on current conditions, from the regional assessments and elsewhere, the large landscape plans should also build a pathway from the current state to the desired future state that includes an estimate of actions and budgets that will be needed.

8) In the long run, organize administration (budgeting, performance standards, monitoring) around the landscape units associated with the large landscape plans.

Individual national forests have an important role to play in organizing budgets and staffing needs for proposed activities, measuring performance, and monitoring results. Their plans have provided a framework for integrative administration of a NF in a context of federal agencies and jurisdictions, state and local governments, tribes, local associations and other landowners. Even when the national forests are not the unit of planning, they can be the administrative location for staff, budgets and coordination necessary for developing both large and small landscape plans, and implementing the resulting policy direction and project activities.

We rely upon this administrative capacity of the national forest system, but suggest a movea move toward an organizational structure keyed to the boundaries of the large landscape plans. Without such a change, the potential for inconsistent, wasteful actions within the large landscape units is high. In addition, making the large landscape unit, drawn on ecological boundaries, as the administrative unit, should make it easier to communicate to the goals of management to the public. An example of such a unit that currently exists is the Lake Tahoe Basin which is the watershed of Lake Tahoe and which previouslyBasin, which is the watershed of Lake Tahoe and which previously, was administered by four national forests in two regions. An example of a unit that needs to be established is the Applegate Watershed, which is currently administered by two national forests and two BLM Districts (sidebar).

9) Focus smallFocus small landscape planning on the mix of activities and projects needed to meet the goals in the strategic plan--to implement the strategic plans. Projects should be developed in combination, to the degree possible, with attention to cumulative effects, and includeand include implementation schedules, measurable performance standards, budget plans and staffing plans. New activities can be added at any time to the overall plan with consideration of cumulative impacts and consistency with the general strategic intent of the plan. This is the planning level that is based upon Adaptive Management, meaning that it is a continuous cycle of activity, evaluation and review, adaptation and change.

These small landscape plans can use a process we call "backward mapping" in that the team works "backward" from developing individual projects to an integrated set of activities designed to achieve multiple program goals simultaneously. From the process of defining activities, planning teams are then able to propose a range of possible activities which might result in the desired outcomes, the kinds of staff needed to accomplish these activities, the budgets necessary to carry them out, and the kinds of cooperative actions necessary to build sufficient implementation capacity.

The need to consider connected actions and cumulative effects, and to enable the public to see the geographic context within which the actions will occur, argues for an approach to project planning that considers a larger geographic area than that usually covered by a single project. These areas of interest will rarely follow national forest boundaries. Current examples are sometimes called "site-specific" landscape plans, and following this experience, we anticipate that small landscape plans will cover from 10,000 to 150,000 acres. There are times when individual controversial projects or decisions may threaten to derail a small landscape planning process; in such cases experience suggests that they need to be "worked on some more" before they can be incorporated into the small landscape plans.

Since planning is a creative, educative and learning process, effective problem solving at the level of the "site-specific" small landscape depends on allowing flexibility to local managers to recognize and work within local conditions to achieve the desired conditions of the landscape. This approach rests on using the creative powers of national forest managers and the collaborative group assisting the mangers in planning for the management of these complex systems to improve the reliability and effectiveness of the policies at the local level. Part and parcel with this discretion is the need for independent evaluation of how well these site-specific implementation plans achieve the strategic goals, including highlightingincluding highlighting creative solutions and innovative approaches.

10) Measure plan performance through achievement of actions and outcomes. Traditionally, plan performance has been measured through attainment of output targets. We feel that measurement of plan performance should primarily be would be done through 1) comparing the expected actions from the strategic plans to actions undertaken through the small landscape plans on an annual basis and 2) comparing movement toward the desired conditions every few years. Either of those measures might have four results: 1) concluding things are fine, 2) adjusting the actions that would be undertaken to achieve the mix assumed in the strategic plan, 3) considering a change in the mix of treatments in the strategic plan, or 4) considering a change in the desired future conditions.

11) Make science-based planning a reality. In the first round of forest plans under NFMA, scientists, by and large, sat on the sidelines as managers and inter-disciplinary teams developed forest plans. A series of lawsuits, and a growing realization of the central role of science in planning, led the Forest Service and other federal agencies to call for "scientifically credible conservation strategies" for species and ecosystems. Throughout the country, in recent years, the Forest Service has embraced the notion of planning based on science as one of the tenets of forest management.

Science-based planning incorporates current scientific thought into the planning process and the plans that result, with the understanding that this knowledge is a set of working hypotheses informed by experiments, demonstrations, argument, and reflection, and that over time these hypotheses may be retained, revised, and discarded as needed. Scientists will be asked to assist in a wide variety of ways under our proposal including: creating knowledge of relevance to forest planning, working on the integrative science of regional assessments and planning, helping managers understand the application of this scientific and technical knowledge to management problems, and helpingand helping to design effectiveness monitoring procedures and the experiments needed under adaptive management. Managers will need to work with people from another culture (science) and to treatto treat management as an experiment.

12) Establish independent reviews to provide an "outside check" on the use of technical and scientific information. The credibility of the planning process rests in part on the routine application of an "outside check" on the use of technical and scientific information. These reviews are both to provide independent verification of the science-basis of plans and their implementation, and to highlight and reward creative approaches to the challenging issues faced in the management of the national forests. The knowledge of an evaluation at the end of the planning process should, by its very presence, encourage collaboration between managers, specialists and scientists as the plans are developed.

There should be an evaluation of the use of scientific and technical information in strategic planning, i.e., an evaluation of the consistency of strategic planning and plans with scientific and technical understanding. A potential role model for this effort is the "science consistency" check, recently pioneered in the Tongass National Forest land management plan (Everest et al., 1997)---a technique for evaluating if the information transferred from scientists to policy makers and planners was understood by them.

Field reviews of projects should also be conducted to ascertain whether implementation willwould meet the goals of the plans from a scientific and technical viewpoint. The interagency PACFISH reviews could serve as a model for this effort ,effort, assuming that the interagency committee was broadened to consider all the values recognized in the plans.

13) Consider budget realities. Past plans developed both the goals for forest management and also a set of actions for the plan decade to achieve these goals. The activity set was generally developed without limiting budget needs to current experience. Rather the plans were developed to help define the budget that would be needed, based on conclusions reached by theby Forestthe Forest Service afterService after much analysis and public involvement. This approach often led to disappointment during plan implementation asimplementation as Congress appropriated less money than envision envisioned and targeted the funds it did allocate to a different mix of actions and outcomes than called for in the plans.

For planning to be meaningful it needs to bear a relationship to the current and likely future situation. To achieve this there must be some relationship between the plan and the budget available to undertake the plan. As discussed above, the strategic plan should concentrate on settingon setting the long-term goals and the associated desired future condition, and make a first estimate of the pathway (mix of actions) over time to achieve these conditions. The estimated rate of accomplishment of the desired conditions should be keyed to expected budgets, along with analysis of how increased or decreased budgets will affect the rate of progress. The details of actions to achieve progress toward these goals, however, should be left to implementation planning As part of strategic planning, the budget needs of maintaining the desired future condition should be examined; if they appear unrealistic, less budget-intensive desired future conditions should be considered.

Implementation plans, updated on a yearly-basis, should be the basis for the budget requests. Budget short-falls will affect implementation plans and rate of progress toward goals; they do not automatically trigger a revision in the strategic plan. If it becomes clear over time that Congress is unlikely to fund accomplishment of the management goals, then the strategic plan itself may need revision. During plan revision, a comparison should be made between the expected and actual budget during the plan period. An annual report should be published that outlines how the budget for the year is affecting progress toward long-term goals.

14) Designate as the responsible official, a manager whose responsibilities cover the area being planned. Currently, the Chief is responsible for regional plans and the Regional Forester is responsible for national forest plans. This approach inhibits change and adaptation in regional plans and national forest plans. We believe that the Regional Foresters should be responsible for bioregional plans and that the Forestthe Forest Supervisors should be responsible for national forest plans.

15) Create a learning organizationCreate Networks for Organizational Learning

Using the traditional tools of calculating sustained yield levels., planning efforts could proceed without significant concern about the unknown. As planning shifts more centrally to a focus on ecological sustainability, with all its complexities and uncertainties, developing an organization that emphasizes learning will become paramount.

"Organizational learning" refers to the processes and strategies undertaken by an organization when reaching goals and outcomes require new ways of operating. The the key element in effective organizational learning is leadership. (More to come from Margaret and Julia).