Finding a Common Vision for America's Forests

Article excerpt

Searching for 21st-century answers to 20th-century questions, citizens from all quarters consider the future of one of our greatest assets.

Citizens, environmental organizations, and industry representatives will convene in Washington, DC, February 20-24 for the Seventh American Forest Congress. The goal of this citizens' congress - and of an extensive pre-congress process - is to develop a common vision for the forests of the next century. Participants will form the principles and "next steps" needed to produce ecologically sound, economically if, able, and socially responsible policies for our nation's forests.

A broad spectrum of organizations and individuals is already involved. The goal is to get as many constituencies as possible represented and involved. There are a number of ways that an Organization - or an individual - can participate.

Roundtables and Collaborative Meetings

Roundtable meetings of divergent groups representing a broad range of forestry issues are being organized throughout the fall across the U.S. Citizens will work to discover common ground and lay the groundwork for actions they can all support. Collaborative meetings of groups with similar interests are also being organized. These can be held in conjunction with an already-scheduled meeting.

Stakeholders of all kinds are encouraged to organize and/or attend these meetings. Individuals can submit views and recommendations by mail, fax, or on the Internet.

Materials have been produced to help people become involved. They include: a manual for organizing roundtables, helpful tips for collaborative meetings and for reporting findings to the Forest Congress, a short video on the history of the American Forest Congress and scheduled pre-congress activities, and a training video for roundtable facilitators.

A Rich History

The Seventh American Forest Congress builds on a rich history. Six Congresses have been held at critical points in the nation's history to focus attention on the evolving role of forests in our lives. …