| Assessment Home | On-line Technical Reports | Overview of Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term Multiple Socio-Economic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Society |

Chapter 6. Socio-Economic

Overview of Chapter 6: Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term Multiple Socio-Economic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Society

October 2003

"Maintenance and enhancement of forest resources to meet the needs of societies require the rationalization of competing uses in ways that reflect human values."

-Report of the United States on the Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable
Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests, USDA Forest Service 1997

California's forests and rangelands provide a wide variety of resources that benefit society. The most commonly cited goods and services are wood, forage, and water runoff. Other goods and services, such as cultural and open space values, are less recognizable and are more difficult to quantify in monetary terms.

Society places a wide range and ever-changing set of values on forest and rangeland resources. The maintenance and enhancement of these resources to meet society's needs involves a continuous process of adjusting what is produced and where it is produced. Understanding the diversity of values available from forests and rangelands as well as the shifts in priorities for their use is critical to developing an overall measure of sustainable use.

Montreal Process indicators for measuring socio-economic benefits

Nineteen Montreal Process indicators focus on the measurement of socio-economic benefits provided by forests and rangelands. Each of these indicators is described under one of the following five general categories: 1) production and consumption of wood and non-wood products; 2) recreation and tourism resources; 3) investment in the forestry sector; 4) cultural and social needs and values from forest resources; and 5) employment and community needs.

Deer Creek, Butte County
Deer Creek, Butte County

Indicators 29 through 34 measure consumption and production of wood and non-wood products. These production and consumption indicators help identify demands on forests as well as economic benefits to consumers. The indicators measure the size, economic health, and consumer preferences of the wood and non-wood products sectors. They do so by identifying trends in the value and volume of products and allowing comparison of those trends against management objectives (Roundtable on Sustainable Forests, 2002).

Indicators 35 through 37 focus on aspects of recreation and tourism throughout California’s forests and rangelands. As urban population and income levels continue to expand in California, uses of forests and rangelands for recreation and tourism increase. The same population and economic trends also reduce the availability of the extent of natural forests and rangelands. The supply and demand for the whole range of recreational opportunities—from full service concessionaires to more developed recreation sites to wilderness opportunities—must be considered (Roundtable on Sustainable Forests, 2002). More developed recreational sites are often necessary to meet the higher levels of recreational demand.

Indicators 38 through 41 focus on the level of investments in California’s forests and rangelands. Investments that maintain the land base in a productive and functional condition while promoting economic vitality are essential to the social and economic well-being of the people of California. Investment objectives of particular concern are those that focus on forest health and management, reforestation, ecological process restoration, wood processing, research and education, improved technologies, and the rates of return on investment. These indicators are discussed in Chapter 7: Governance, in the context of economic frameworks that support sustainable management.

Indicators 42 and 43 assess California’s cultural and social needs and values. Society is quickly changing and becoming much more diverse in ethnic makeup and cultural backgrounds. In order to satisfy the requirements of a diverse population, varied needs can be identified and addressed. These actions could include the dedication of land for cultural or social purposes.

The final category of indicators for measuring socio-economic benefits spotlights the employment and community-oriented needs of Californians. Indicators 44 through 47 focus on direct and indirect employment in forest and rangeland-dependent sectors, wage rates and injury rates, and community viability and adaptability to changing economic conditions.

For more information on these indicators and a national perspective, see Report of the United States on the Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests.

Assessment sections summarizing Chapter 6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of society

The Assessment sections for this chapter generally review the five sub-criteria and 19 socio-economic Montreal Process indicators. Every Montreal Process socio-economic indicator is not evaluated. FRAP has chosen to provide information which is required by the legal mandate and most relevant to socio-economic facets of California’s forests and rangelands. The socio-economic information is discussed in eight separate on-line technical reports below:

  • Socio-Economic Characteristics focuses on the well-being of the people who live in California, specifically those in rural forest and rangeland counties. Over 25 different metrics of social and economic conditions are developed reflecting income, social equity, education, and quality of life characteristics.

  • California's Economic Conditions and Structures focuses on current economic conditions, economic factors important to California's future, and the overall prosperity of people in California, specifically in forest and rangeland areas. The structure and relevance of forest and rangeland industrial sectors are evaluated in light of California's large and advanced global economic role. This evaluation is conducted by summarizing sector demand/supply situation and with performance metrics such as trends in employment, production output and production value.

  • Contributions of Timber-Related Revenue and Other Revenue to Local Governments is a discussion of the valuable contribution timber harvesting has made in meeting general community needs in rural California. This section reviews allocation trends to rural communities and emerging regulations aimed at stabilizing contributions.

  • Forest and Range Related Energy Industry discusses the use of forest products as an alternative energy source and the institutional infrastructure (roads, co-generation plants) necessary to expand this industry.

  • Wildland Outdoor Recreation Assessment focuses on the use trends, regional importance, and economic impacts of forests and rangelands as they relate to outdoor recreation. In addition, information specific to recreation and tourism indicators 35 through 37 is included. With increasing urban populations, open space available for recreation near populated areas will become more important.

  • The Range Livestock Industry section focuses on the relative importance of the economic contributions of rangeland industries. Included is a review of the trends of cattle production and the emerging opportunities facing the livestock industry.

  • Forest Products Industry is a review of timber harvest and product output trends from California's forests and the significant globalization trends in wood products. Significant industry shifts have occurred in the last decade resulting in reduced harvesting in California. California's increasing consumption of wood products is increasingly met with imports.

  • Water Supply and Use discusses the importance of forests and rangelands in providing the water needs of California. As the issues of population growth and environmental uses of water increase in societal importance, ensuring high quality water production will become an increasingly important function of forests and rangelands in the future.

Literature cited

Montreal Process Working Group. 1998. The Montreal Process: what is the Montreal Process? criteria and indicators. Web site accessed February 25, 2002. http://mpci.org/criteria_e.html

Roundtable on Sustainable Forests. 2002. Web site accessed February 25, 2002.

USDA Forest Service. 1997. Report of the United States on the criteria and indicators for sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. Web site accessed July 15, 2002. http://www.fs.fed.us/global/pub/links/report/chapter7.htm.

back to top iconback to top