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Legal, Institutional, and Economic Indicators of Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management in the United States: Analyzing Criterion 7 of the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators Framework


Fredrick W Cubbage



Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

International Institute of Tropical Forestry


General Technical Report


This report examines the nation’s legal, institutional, and economic capacity to promote forest conservation and sustainable resource management through a set of 10 indicators associated with criterion 7 of the Montréal Process criteria and indicators framework. Specifically, we considered (1) legislation and policies, (2) cross-sectoral coordination, (3) taxation and incentives, (4) property rights and land tenure, (5) law enforcement, (6) programs and services, (7) research and technology, (8) partnerships, (9) public participation and conflict resolution, and (10) monitoring and reporting as they relate to forests and their sustainability. The report is based on extensive research, assessment, and synthesis of information from a variety of sources. Data are presented quantitatively and qualitatively. There is a range of public laws that govern public lands, which dictate their management and public involvement in various detailed approaches. Federal and state laws protect wildlife and endangered species on all public and private lands and foster various levels of forest practices regulation or best management practices to protect water quality, air quality, and other public goods. Federal and state laws also provide for technical and financial assistance, research, education, and planning on private forest lands, but do not prescribe specific actions or standards. Many newer market based mechanisms, including forest certification, wetland banks, payments for environmental services, and conservation easements increasingly are used to implement sustainable forest management (SFM) across the country. There is increasing development of cross-sectoral policies and programs that link related policy networks, purposes, and desired outcomes at all levels. Critical partnerships affecting forests are evolving around cross-boundary issues, such as climate change, land use, and water conservation. Nevertheless, analytical challenges remain in addressing issues that cross ecological, social, political, legal, and other boundaries. In addition, SFM remains difficult in practice owing to competitive land uses and diverse social objectives, particularly in places where incentives for SFM are low and pressures for development or agriculture are high.


McGinley, Kathleen A.; Cubbage, Fredrick W., tech. eds. 2020. Legal, institutional, and economic indicators of forest conservation and sustainable management in the United States: analyzing criterion 7 of the Montréal Process criteria and indicators framework. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-52. Rio Piedras, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry. 174 p.

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