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    Author(s): Kathleen McGinleyGuy Robertson; Kathleen Friday; Constance Carpenter
    Date: 2017
    Source: General Technical Report
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: Download Publication  (31.0 MB)


    This report is a companion report to the National Report on Sustainable Forests, except that the analysis in this case is specifically applied to tropical forests found on U.S. islands and U.S.-affiliated island jurisdictions in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Like its national counterpart, the report uses the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (MP C&I) to provide a comprehensive picture of forest conditions. Each of the seven criteria in the MP C&I is given a separate chapter, and the resulting analysis includes consideration of ecological, social, economic, and institutional dimensions of forest sustainability. Our key findings mirror those of the 2010 national report: tropical forests on the U.S. islands are not experiencing broad-scale deforestation, and forest area is stable in most jurisdictions. However, these forests are facing multiple threats from environmental and anthropogenic stressors. With 760 plant and animal species across all the islands identified as at risk of extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the threat of native biodiversity loss from extinction and extirpation, particularly in the Pacific, is the biggest warning flag regarding forest sustainability. In the Caribbean, where islands are relatively closer to each other and to the mainland than islands in the Pacific, and where past agricultural practices resulted in broad-scale disruption of native forest ecosystems, new assemblages of forest species are evolving, some including native and nonnative species, though most are still in relatively young age classes. On the social and economic front, commodity wood production plays a minimal to nonexistent role in island economies, but forests provide numerous benefits to island peoples, the importance of which are often enhanced by the limited space and close local social-ecological interactions reinforced by island geography and by long-established patterns of use on the part of local residents. Institutionally, many of the islands face considerable challenges resulting from a lack of economies of scale and sufficient resources for effective forest management.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    McGinley, Kathleen A.; Robertson, Guy C.; Friday, Kathleen S.; Carpenter, Constance A. 2017. Assessing Forest Sustainability in the Tropical Islands of the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-48. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry. 87 p.


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    forest sustainability, tropical islands, tropical forests, U.S.-affiliated islands, criteria and indicators, nonnative species.

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