Sustained forests; sustained profits
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The enterprise in the future will be composed of many tracts of land. These are the Lasting Forests. But the enterprise is also a managerial and service system for these tracts, and provides superior services to other landowners. It also serves the many needs of a diverse group of wildland resource users (tourists, anglers, hunters, hikers, etc.) It sells wood products but also services, landuse opportunities, and related products.
Lasting Forests is an hypothetical system (proposed and under design), that presents to the world a new paradigm in environmental and natural resource management. The paradigm is one of land being renewed and protected, held productive and profitable over the long run. It includes, however, computer aids for decisions about many wildland and natural resource enterprises and attempts to provide resource management for many human opportunities and objectives related to all of the natural resources of the land and the region. The paradigm is that of a sophisticated, modern systems approach to profitable private wildland management for the future. Public lands may be similarly managed under contract.
A premise of Lasting Forests is that everything in nature is related and that by working with things as a system, human benefits can be achieved, problems reduced, and functional systems can be sustained over the long run for the children and grandchildren of the present society. Lasting Forests may one day to produce maximum resource benefits for people at lowest costs. In doing so, money is "made." Many other benefits are obtained, by design, from the complex relations of many types of people with the land. Lasting Forests is like a large corporation with many divisions. Each has its name, some independence, and all work together for maximum profits and other quality of life, subject to many constraints. "Profits" means only net income and value enhancement that is used in diverse ways to achieve the stated objectives of the system. A newly created corporation operates the system. Many of the funds needed to start the corporation, the venture capital, are already in place in past investments of society in research, libraries, computer software, hardware, etc., and experience of staff. Much capital is still needed. As the system develops, more profit will be made and this will be used to enhance the operational capabilities of the greater enterprise.
Lasting Forests seems to be an anacronism. It is largely a forest-related system grounded in the premise that trees are almost irrelevant. It uses the analogy of football. Of course, the leather football on the playing field is important, but the total football enterprise is very large and diverse: uniforms, the stadium, food, drink, clothing, advertising, grounds, publications, fan clubs, and more. The ball is important but so is the greater football enterprise. The trees themselves are essential but in the context of the total forestry and land use system, they are almost irrelevant.
By a similar analogy, animals within a wildlife management system may be irrelevant. Perhaps biologists and wildlife resource workers have had their "eye of the ball" too long and that it is now time to concentrate on the wildlife enterprise (or more broadly, the wildland enterprise - land, food, lodging, equipment, organizations, guides, catering, etc.)
By the same analogy, the tourist is essential but almost irrelevant in the context of the work that is proposed for Ranging within the Lasting Forests. Throughout the short history of "ecotourism", thought and action has been on the tourist. A concept within Lasting Forests, believed to be new, is that it is feasible to manage the total wildland resource enterprise for the good of the people living in an area; for the education, entertainment, and recreation gained from visitors and sight-seers; for financial gains for landowners and their land and resource managers...and to do this into perpetuity.
A situation exists in which a comprehensive system may be designed and created that can provide a world-class demonstration of superior, unified wildland management. Such a system can be recognized by the criteria (or as some would say, the objectives) of:
Lasting Forests is a unifying means of developing large land units into a legal, well-managed, environmentally-sound area that may be sustained indefinitely. The concept that is one for superior work on site (within an expanding region with an eye to demonstrating what superior wildland management really means and then taking that message, even practices (operational systems) to other land ownerships.) It is grounded in general systems theory and, by design, is financially stable and profitable. The system is the design, mechanisms, programs, people, facilities, and actions needed for sustained profits from a large wildland ownership. Herein is the concept, description, and directions for operating a unique company. It is a concept of diverse, complex, integrated, dynamic group of enterprises doing sophisticated studies, developing, and managing natural resources and related commodities. It is a concept for a region as well. Just as a healthy organ cannot exist for long in a sick body, the enterprises operated within the Lasting Forests cannot survive or maintain profits and the quality of life for which it was designed in a declining region.
It is not a strategy for urban, residential, or industrial expansion into agricultural areas but a means for all citizens to achieve a safe, stable, satisfying life while living in a rural area or while being an urban citizen dependent upon the rural complex. It is a means to secure the vital support resources and services for all citizens - food, water, biomass energy, fiber, diverse accessible recreation and other amenities, temperature amelioration, and clean air. Urban citizens, now a large proportion of the nation, are totally dependent upon these resources and the people who produce and maintain them. The concept is one of developing a for-profit service, later with a not-for-profit or non-profit sub-group for education, conservation, and research that contains the following characteristics:
The massive problems that Lasting Forests addresses are: A regional human population with an increasing average age, high infant mortality in the region, slipping environmental quality, loss of prime farm land and a shrinking agricultural base, uncertainty in fossil energy supply systems, inefficient natural resource use, decreasing advice from an undercut Extension service and reduced agricultural offices, unused research results, conflicting situations of many types needing information and analyses, inadequate high quality jobs for recent university graduates, inadequate employment in life-fulfilling jobs for many people within the region, un-exploited technology, an unstable university education and research program, and new ideas almost demanding that they be profitably implemented for the good of the region. These are problems in name but also in amount, intensity, arrangement, and variety and with new constraints. The problems are now new because there were greater supplies of resources in past years, there are now more people (6 billion in 1999), public pressure was less and more flexible, people were better informed about the practicalities of outdoor work, and there was less involvement in shaping resource management on public lands.
Old methods are not likely to solve these problems or meet these new needs. Working harder, getting by on less, and keeping on hoping for some relief are not appropriate responses to the total needs environment. What has gone on in the past is not wrong or bad. The environment has changed. Vast knowledge or proven techniques acquired in the past are not to be discarded. These are needed and must be integrated into a new strategy and system. Lasting Forests is one powerful option. Lasting Forests has ideas, computer power, previous research, dynamic leadership, efficient designs, proven components, a reasonable scale, and a mission that is achieved by providing advice but also, as desired by customers, by actual land and resource management.
Lasting Forests is one of the first concepts under development to recognize the uniqueness of each ownership and to prepare plans and prescriptions...a total system to meet specific needs that are consistent with the capabilities of very small units of land. Success, in part, lies in using the results of millions of dollars of tax investments already made in research. We do some research, but one of our strengths for each client is in creating unique, practical solutions...with adaptive management.
One concept within Lasting Forests is that of gaining significantly improved total resource production systems, first on the lands that are owned and under contract, then on other ownerships. It continues improvements over the long run, including maintaining local employment, increasing land value and productivity cost for the long run, increasing the quality of life of people in the region, and helping people experience a full range of benefits. Its intent is to assist in developing the region, sustaining its economy, but also to achieving profits that enhance education, research, and local buying power. It intends to restore deteriorated resources, preserve priceless areas, and sustain and enhance the value of other resources. It is dedicated to high-quality friendly service, convenient effective work, adequate information, and understandable results.
Resources and the environment are very important to the region, and to the staff. The staff is selected because of its orientation and love of natural resources.
The "bottom line", called for by many customers and potential clients of Lasting Forests, is that we can usually make more money for them than they are now making, and improve conditions for the long run. At least we guarantee satisfaction and improvement.
What is it really? It displays a paradigm but much more than a paradigm, it is a proposed enterprise with over 22 related companies or major units (each briefly described below with links to brief texts about each topic).
Lasting Forests has capabilities for:
A landowner can request a set of specific services from the many units available or allow Lasting Forests to use them all in a tightly-related scheme to achieve the landowners' personal objectives. Key words are: maximizing benefits, gaining financial stability, diversifying, and being sustained.
The major operational elements of the system are only mentioned herein. The size of the system is larger than anyone imagines, equivalent to building a skyscraper or an aircraft carrier. Not-overly-blown, the thoughts here may seem excessive since few people realize how complicated and difficult modern wildland management (including spreading mini-farms, rural homes, and dispersed commercial activities) is to conceive and implement. This is not a description of re-defined agroforestry (said to be gaining shortterm benefits while waiting for traditional, longterm forest products. A major premise in the design of Lasting Forests is that for success of the system after 150 or more years, i.e., a profitable stable enterprise and the vitality of the region, there must be diverse, planned, intensively-managed environments for people.
Each of the major units of Lasting Forests is described in separate documents (an introduction is available by clicking on a topic here or within the Units file). Each activity offers its own special services and opportunities. Nowhere does such a system now exist. The components, however, do exist and have been tried. Some have failed because they were not stabilized by fluctuating government, were dependent on a single person, or could not gain the economies and synergism of work with related enterprises. The elements of the system are listed and more information on any part will be supplied. Full business plans are being prepared on each enterprise. The real strengths if the concept, however, are in making combinations of services and enterprises. Because each person's needs are different, staff need to discuss each situation, do a brief analysis (often with a reconnaissance), get landowner's objectives and policies, then, with modern computer optimization, select a complex strategy from among thousands, and then submit a plan of work. Staff will work with landowners for partial or full-scale comprehensive management of a land unit. When managed well, the selected strategy for the land produces profits as well as pride in land and pride in what it does for the family and people of the area. There are many parts to a strategy for making land "pay off" over the long run. Picking the right strategy for each ownership is difficult. Average solutions won't work; on average, they are sub-optimal. Lasting Forests provides a recommendation, but unlike those from agencies and similar groups, it also will assist in implementing owners' decisions.
A managerial group (System Central described below) provides direction and provides services needed by all of the sub-systems or enterprises. These include marketing and advertising, computer support, communications, law enforcement and security, surveys and lands, transportation, monitoring, and others. Each enterprise is very independent, yet each does not duplicate the central services. Funds are not invested in land itself; capital investment is minimal. Advantages are taken on memberships and new communication media. Cooperatives and affiliates are encouraged. Tax advantages are substantial and evident. Markets are expanded. Economies of scale are gained; downtime is reduced; shared work crews avoid seasonal inefficiencies.
The following are the proposed elements of Lasting Forests:
1. The Forest Group - that includes land owned by the company and intensively managed (logging, reforestation, value-added processing, fire-fighting, security) but supplying the area for most of the following working units. The Associated Forests are lands owned by others but under contract for management in a manner similar to the Main Forests. Separate forested tracts of land are Designated, then developed. These are actively managed for profits for the long run as a total system, all with biodiversity and sustained wildlife populations as fundamental management constraints and stipulations. These are total forest systems - from seedlings to value-added sales and recreational use. Not just a tree system, the trees are managed to achieve the long-range objectives of the owners and the total system. Some trees are cut to allow wildlife foods to grow in special places (money is made from some trees, in other places the trees are used to reduce erosion and increase stream quality for fish). Forests are seen as opportunities-places for recreation; scenery (in special places or viewscapes); sources of profit; unique places for wilderness experiences. They, like tomatoes, are perishable resources, attacked by insects, disease, fire, vandals, and poachers so they must be managed carefully. We manage forests using a new alpha unit concept, more carefully and precisely than anywhere. We hold that every 10-meter by 10-meter square is unique and we use the computer to attend to the uniqueness. We optimize the use of the forests of the entire area (all Forests within Lasting Forests, not just the single management unit) using planned harvest strategies and schedules that include objectives of profit, biodiversity, sustainability, and forest health. Annual financial gains are made. Viewscapes are analyzed for recreational developments as well as impact analyses of other developments. We promote the hyperhardwood concept -- maximum profits from a designed hardwood system that include certified woods grown under approved conditions for high profits. Most of the elements of papers written about "ecosystem management" are included but we hasten to deny that this phrase is what we are doing. (The phrase is a political gimmick, erroneous, too limited in concept, and without a measurable end condition or desired state.)
On cooperators' land, separate Lasting Forests are Designated and developed. These are actively managed for profits for the long run as a total system, all with biodiversity and sustained wildlife populations as fundamental management constraints and stipulations. These are total forest systems - from seedlings to value-added sales and recreational use. Comprehensive analyses of the forest are made with concepts of diagnosis and prescription. Not just a tree system, the trees are managed to achieve the long-range objectives of the owners and the total system. Some trees are cut to allow wildlife foods to grow in special places (money is made form some trees, in other places the trees are used to reduce erosion and increase stream quality for fish). Forests are seen as resources --places for recreation; scenery (in special places or viewscapes); sources of profit; unique places for wilderness experiences. They, like tomatoes, are perishable resources, attacked by insects, disease, fire, vandals, and poachers so they must be managed carefully. We manage forests using a new Alpha Unit concept, more carefully and precisely than anywhere. We hold that every 10-meter by 10-meter square of Earth is unique and we use the computer to attend to the uniqueness. We optimize the use of the forests of the entire area using planned harvest strategies and schedules that include objectives of profit, biodiversity, sustainability, and forest health. Annual financial gains are made. Viewscapes are analyzed for recreational developments as well as impact analyses of other developments. We promote the hyperhardwood concept -- maximum profits from a designed hardwood system that includes certified woods grown under approved conditions for high profits. All of the elements of papers written about "ecosystem management" are included but we hasten to deny that this phrase is what we are doing.(The phrase is a political gimmick, erroneous, too limited in concept, and without a measurable end condition or desired state). A sub-unit specializes in intensive management of the tree communities of local towns and cities including their pests, leaf disposal, surgery, replacements, wildlife and songbirds, and autumn colors. A sub-unit also does specialized watershed analyses and management plans.
1a. Walnut Vales - specialized intensive walnut system management for nutmeats, wood, and products.
1b. The Foresters - a private association (with paid memberships) for the landowners, citizens, etc. with web site, news, education, tours, and demonstrations.
1c. The Fire Force - the "hot-shot" forest and range fire fighting crew trains and is prepared to do superior fire-fighting. It demonstrates; it trains others. It is available for work elsewhere. Attached is a fire-ecology office exploring all aspects of fire in the complex system, one that relates to making prescribed burns, economies of strategies and tactics, smoke management, wildfire, and fire effects on watersheds. Models are used to evaluate influences of wild and prescribed fire on a set of 40 objectives. Optimization routines analyze best conditions and allow comparisons of deviations. A regional wild fire-fighting center develops to replace the expertise recently lost in government staff "downsizing."
2. Memorials - sites and opportunities for memorializing loved-ones. Publications and other honoraria or memorials are developed under contract for individuals. A series of memorial groves are developed.
3. The Wildlife Group - having sub-units for specialized profitable management of deer, turkey, grouse, songbirds, raccoons, and specialized memberships in Nature Folks (see below) which includes a group devoted to coyotes and foxes, one group for people strongly related to owls, and another having strong insect and butterfly interest.
3a. Official Avi - A new bird-watching sport. This will be the first place that this franchised, golf-course-like activity will be implemented. Strongly related to wildlife watching, the birds of the typical habitats of the region are featured on some courses. International franchises are planned.
3b. The Wild Turkey Group - a total species management system.
3c. The Raccoon Group - a fur-bearer management system including damage management.
3d. The Deer Group - a center for a comprehensive deer resource management system.
3e. Good Dog - a new procedure to judge the goodness of a trailing or scenting dog and to offer a score to improve breeding or sale value of such dogs. The Pest Force
4. The Pest Force - also wildlife related, this group specializes in integrated damage management (deer, squirrels, blackbirds, coyotes, and nuisance animals)
5. The Fishery- managing the lakes, ponds, and streams of the property and region. A comprehensive fishery including cooperatives and systems of diverse angling and other activities in lakes, streams, and ponds under contract. Evident relations are in water developments in select habitats, guided bird watching from boats, and improved water quality from intensified forestry. It includes the (a) Stream Fishery including Native Fish Watching sport and (b) Ponds and lakes (cooperative sets of 20 to 50 ponds; management and guide services, etc.)
6. The Pasture and Range Group - range and pasture systems-COPLAN based; elements of Savory's work; GIS-based with micro-scale work; Bonham-basic rangeland economics.
7. Nature Folks - a diverse organization (Audubon Society-Like) actively using the Forests. Members are typically interested in seasonal changes (phenology), land snails, insects, "creepy places", bogs, logs - the unusual but not very spectacular. Conferences, e-mail, literature, photographs, local tours, related worldwide tours - these are for the people in this membership-fee plus costs group.
7a. The Plant People - Medicinal and specialty plants are a topic of interest among The Plant People, a sub unit of the Nature Folks. They conduct cooperative program with select gardeners and gardens; computer-aided garden layout; supplies; gardener's network; area restoration; plant harvests from logged areas
7b. The Owl Group - a membership group related to Nature Folks to study birds of prey, the night-time nature, and to engage in a special type of ecotourism.
7c. Coyote - a sub-group of Nature Folks interested in the coyote that is moving into the region. Also includes people interested in foxes and similar dog-like creatures of the world. Local and international tours to observe the animals and their environments. Studies relate to their management.
7d. Butterfly Band - a group devoted to insect management of all types with positive emphasis on lepidoptera identification and conservative collections, museum work, insects as wildlife food, and invertebrates as part of the "biodiversityquot; quest for the future. Includes work with bees for honey production and includes insect-related disease and damage management.
7e. Wilderness Group - part of Nature Folks, cooperates in developing easements and set-asides, sponsors research, tours ancient forests, and promotes the use of wilderness research findings (now rarely done).
7f. Wildland Walkers - also a unit of Nature Folks, is a hiking, dispersed camping, woodcraft, and general activity group for all ages with guides, catered services, memberships, contests, and levels of accomplishment. A modern system of diverse outdoor recreation is developed. Diverse user groups need education, various levels of support and supervision, safety and health care and interpretation for appreciation and maximizing their experiences. Protecting the environment from users is essential. We have concepts for a world-class system of many types of outdoor recreation that vary from day-visits to challenge contests. A recreational-use education unit may be developed later to prepare inexperienced urban people for the repeatedly enjoyable, safe, gentle-on-the-land, outdoors and wildland or rural experience.
7g. The Wildland Crew - is an affiliated trail work and exercise group for adults, a group for volunteers who come to the area for work and experience who are given meaningful experiences, shown a responsible work ethic, and encouraged in wildland work in the future. A loyal membership grows. Occasional "reunions" are held. Coordinators encourage positive experiences and associations, and assure bonding with the area and other volunteers.
7h. Stoneworms - a trails-building company, including construction, maintenance, and operation.
7i. Rollers - following detailed work with the local courts, people that are required by the courts to do community service are allowed to join the Rollers for healthful, positive outdoor work experiences advancing the objectives ofLasting Forests.
7j. Prospectors - the geology group provides comprehensive geological map layers, addresses groundwater resources, relates geology to soils, forests, fish, wildlife. Education along with rock and mineral collection, jewelry-making, etc. are promoted. Prospecting events (for fees, as in most other activities described herein) are coordinated with outfitters, guides, Stables, and others. Mining and history of the region are presented and preserved.
8. The Lasting Forests Camps - camp management services; summer youth camps and year-around adult Writers' Camps.
9. Ranging - regional tourism, ecotourism, sight-seeing, and work with the Tours Group, The Base and others in developing a local as well as regional, national, and international in all of the activities of the Lasting Forests. See the Rangin' 'Round Ro'noke project proposal.
10. The Tours Group- local, national and international tours (ecotourism and related activities; see China tour and Grandeer).
11. Novosports - a series of unusual sports is practiced, (perhaps started) demonstrated on the area. This includes tug-of-war, "world ball", and Gamma-a new practical computer game requiring the knowledge of wildlands and the strategy of a chess player. This game may become the core of education programs in FFA, 4-H, Scouting, and may lead (by design) to international competition (in the region) for large prize money awards for experts (who may then be employed by Lasting Forests and others for real-world decision making).
12. Viewscapes - landscape architecture, beautification, signs, visual amenities, computer maps and consulting. Architectural coordination is needed to assure that main structures and related structures are safe, healthy, functional, maintained, energy efficient, in keeping with the objectives, and themselves communicate the desired image of conservation, concern for the land, natural beauty, consistency, and the occasional creative moment applied research is conducted based on needs identified within the total system model.
13. The Products Group - creating and arranging for local production and delivery of products (publications, wooden bird houses, hides, soil amendments, decomposition evaluation units, craft materials, handcrafted items, hiking staff, art objects, photographs, publications, software, specialty box, specialty clothing, outdoor equipment (including rentals, food items, computer maps). Inadequate health, safety, and comfort often cause outdoor trips to "fail." Areas or experiences should not be judged to be bad because of inadequate knowledge about techniques or improper equipment. Sales and service by existing cooperating retailers are promoted.
14. www.RuralSystem.com - an e-commerce site for forestry and wildland related products and services, with emphasis on Lasting Forest opportunities. Designed to be a primary eastern U.S. wildland web site with linkages to all aspects of the Lasting Forests, it will have hypertext and hypermedia links to supplies, equipment, services, and to government agencies, sources, images-of all types. Participants sponsor the web site. GIS links will progressively expand to worldwide involvement.
15. The Certification Group - arranges for forest certification by the Forest Stewardship Council and SmartWood, maintains certification of all of the Lasting Forests for increased profitability and specialized markets, develops chain of control for products, and serves as a broker and service group (e.g., supplying The Trevey) to other land owners seeking certification. A separate unit within it offers services to realtors. It is not a realtor and maintains ethical codes of the SAF and other forestry groups.
16. The WKB - the wildland knowledge base, providing library and reference services, database work, statistical analyses, and select contract research.
17. Competency - a testing service for people working in forestry, wildlife, fisheries and related ecological and environmental fields. It tests and certifies education level and abilities in 500 measurable behaviors, from ability to start a campfire, to write a business letter, to use a computer to solve a problem. This company's "product" may replace the diploma as the standard for future employment in the natural resource field. It does not give or teach any behavior; it tests for its evidence in scheduled "exams" that are in-person demonstration before 2 examiners of ability to perform acts needed by wildland managers.
18. Stables -maintaining horses, conducting trail rides, outfitting, snow/hay sled rides with educational components. Superior trails are developed with the Stoneworms leading to Olympic style challenge courses for horse and rider.
19. Outfits - university-based testing center for outdoor clothing and equipment.
20.The Warehouse Group - lands unsuitable for most of the above (e.g., abandoned strip mines; unproductive forests) may be used for warehouses for the e-commerce of the future (includes plans, construction, roads, parking, and services).
21. System Central - providing leadership, accounting, specialized forest taxation advice, marketing, publishing, legal services, land title and sales, insurance, central supplies and services, communications, computers, and select aspects of transportation for all of the above. This includes operating and selling The Trevey.
21a. The Base - a chamber-of-commerce-like group for the region with membership, tours, demonstrations, meetings, shared notices of activities on the Lasting Forests, promotion of the region, promotional aids, web site advertising, locally specialized services and contests.
21b. The Trevey - a dynamic web-based planning system used for each land ownership. Distance learning and short courses. GIS work is initially contracted.
21c. Energy Core - comprehensive energy budgeting is essential as the fossil-energy supplies become unstable. Promoting energy conservation, demonstrating solar and other processes, attending to future transportation problems, doing energy-based modeling along with ecological-and economic-based modeling are part of this team's support effort.
21d. Research - A research foundation (probably with Virginia Tech but an alternative may be useful) after several years of operation will encourage invited research conducted by a leading investigator, on- or off-site, within one or more of the enterprises. Overhead and salaries contribute to the development of the Lasting Forests. The results of research are seen as necessary information inputs to the system. Minimum time from report to implementation is a criterion of success. Small profits may be derived from laboratory services and the Wired Ecosystem, a demonstration of a high-tech, fully-automated ecosystem "hooked up" as if in an intensive-care unit of a hospital (developed with research and memorial funds and funded by admission fees).
21e. Publications - newsletters, books etc. produced by local printers promoting responsible wildland information. Several histories may be developed, published or placed in an electronic medium and cultural sites developed and artifacts displayed. The pre-settlement local people are one emphasis and topic of study and history development as they relate to the characteristics of the ecology and energy budgets of the area.
21f. Safety and Security Group - Includes (a) Officer training, (b) Safety and security marketing (equipment, services, patrols, etc.), and (c) Modern, computer-aided patrols. This group protects the Forests but offers a comprehensive law enforcement system and anti-vandalism service to neighbors and rural residents-including education, prevention, apprehension, and court work.
21g. Teams - an international computer database of wildland experts allows small teams to be assembled and intensive work done in carefully planned "orchestrated" meetings to solve problems. These are usually backed by expert systems work and the Wildland Knowledge Base.
Action and Enterprise
The Lasting Forests concept includes improvements in land use practices, new local uses of land, and new enterprises for forestry and agricultural specialization. It uses existing structures to give attention to children and youth, awareness of future energy supply problems, and emphases on loyalty to and pride in the region and nation. It reduces costs of impact analyses for prepared development, diversifies recreational opportunities, initiates new contests and competitions, and reduces insurance and risk levels. It disperses employment within homes, cottage-industry markets, website work and ecommerce, and in coordinated seasonal employment.
There may be an opportunity to create a special place, the best imaginable, where superior unified wildland management is practical, demonstrated, and promoted for the U.S. and the world. There exist 90 years and millions of dollars worth of research in the U.S. and the world devoted to forestry, fishery, range, landscape ecology, and watershed and wildlife management. Relatively little has been practiced for many reasons. New technology now is enabling and reasonable concepts are available, not yet employed. Needs in natural resource management increase. Improved private land management seems to be resisted by landowners. Public land management is in crisis. New laws, changing policies, and work requirements that exceed available staff, equipment, and expertise now perplex managers.
Recent Example . . .
FIRST EU THREAT TO WITHHOLD FUNDING OVER ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE
BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 8, 1999: The European Commission has told five countries that they may not be eligible for European Union (EU) regional aid money unless they properly apply European nature laws.
Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily
Lasting Forests can create and assist in developing a practical wildland management system for the region. The evident objective is to develop fully the land and resources there, but the equally important task is to create a sound, lasting concept with procedures and methods that can be transported directly to other lands and activities. This is a management project, not a research project. Several years later (or as programs are developed) we shall develop outstanding, planned, functional, practical research projects in which all citizens can take pride. Until then, we propose to have Lasting Forests demonstrate the usefulness of millions of dollars already invested in wildland resource management.
|"Land" is a code word for lakes, ponds, streams, soil, pastures, brushy areas, fields, fens, fencerows, and forested areas. While an area, it is also a volume, usually from 1000 meters below sea level and extending 1000 meters above the land surface. It is "land" as in "landscape."|
Lasting Forests is like a large corporation with many enterprises, perhaps a "conglomerate." Each unit has a name, some independence, and all work together for maximum profits and other quality of life goals, subject to many constraints. "Profits" are expected discounted net income that is used in diverse ways to achieve the stated objectives. Much of the "venture capital", is already in place from past investments of society in research, libraries, computer software, hardware, etc. Some is in the experience of the staff. As the Forests develop, more profit will be made and this will be used to enhance the operational capabilities of the enterprise.
The major operational elements of the system have only been described briefly. The size of the system is larger than anyone imagines. The imagined system is equivalent to building a skyscraper or an aircraft carrier. Not-overly-blown, the thoughts here may seem excessive since few people realize how complicated and difficult modern wildland management (including spreading mini-farms, rural homes, and dispersed commercial activities) is to conceive and implement. A major premise is that for success of Lasting Forests as a profitable, stable enterprise, and the vitality of the region itself after 50 to 200 years will only persist if a diverse, planned, managed system for people is created. The major categories of the system are those of modified general systems theory that includes context, objectives, inputs, processes, feedforward, and feedback. Taking or using a systems approach means using that figure and its major components as a way of seeing the world, working with it, organizing it, and attempting to improve it. The components are used throughout Lasting Forests to describe, design, and develop it. Whether or not "a systems approach" is taken, discussed, or adopted as policy, or ever used as a working phrase may make little difference. What will matter will be that the following are operating together within the system:
The following is an alternative analysis of the Lasting Forests as a general system with its primary components of context, objectives, inputs, processes, feedback, and feedforward.
The proposed system is a group of highly related enterprises, units or divisions of a single corporation. With planned diversity comes stability in name recognition, staff, and profits. The design is for financial break-even with positive returns where possible with these reinvested or the corporation expanded and other lands added to the managerial system. The operational concept is that "conservation", wise land use, will be done when there is capital, low risks, assistance or "contacts" and a long-term mandate with incentives and self-sustaining influences. Exploitation of resources in the present destroys potentials for corporate profit or sustained profit in future years. A new accounting procedure as well as system "constraints" built into financial models can aid in the work ahead.
A managerial group (System Central) provides direction and provides services needed by all of the subsystems or enterprises. These include marketing and advertising, computer support, communications, law enforcement and security, surveys and lands, transportation, and others. Each enterprise is very independent, yet each does not duplicate the central services. Capital investment (except in land) is minimal. Advantages are taken on memberships and new communication media. Cooperatives and affiliates are encouraged. Tax advantages seem evident. Markets are expanded. Economies of scale are gained; downtime is reduced; shared work crews avoid seasonal inefficiencies.
Nowhere does such a system now exist. The components, however, do exist and have been tried. Some have failed because they were destabilized by fluctuating agencies, were dependent on a single person, or could not gain the economies and synergism of work with related enterprises. The concept that is being proposed is one for superior work on site (within an expanding region with an eye to demonstrating what superior wildland management really means and then taking that message, even practices, to other land ownerships.) More information on any part will be supplied.
Lasting Forests is likely to increase employment. Local tax incentives may be gained for this new "industry." A hundred jobs is a hundred jobs, whether in one factory or spread around a region. Communities around the world have sadly realized that if too many of their economic eggs are in one or a few big baskets, they are vulnerable to, actually suffer, from changes in the "baskets." The Lasting Forests concept includes intent to achieve maximum long-term effectiveness, however legally possible. This usually includes diversifying employment by age, gender, and race, and by providing part-time work, child-care, and off-site work. There are likely to be a number of "home-grown" units within the creative potentials released by the Forests.
Rightful skepticism needs to be faced. Why hasn't this idea come along before? Why hasn't it worked? Giles wrote of "the associates" in his 1978 Wildlife Management textbook. At that time he was discussing a group of resource consultants. The concept has grown as political changes have occurred, hunting revenues decreased, land value increased, agency resources declined, and as needs increased. New laws requiring "biodiversity"; new agency policy supporting "ecosystem management"; new conferences pleading for "sustainability" - these have all created a new environment for the natural resource manager and the state and federal agencies.
There are few wildlife or ecotourism consultants. Unlike abundant forestry consultants, their services have not been widely recognized. Few people have tried to be wildlife resource consultants since many of their services were provided freely by agencies. Stabilizing a "cash flow" for a single resource consultant has been impossible. The needs have been great; the competition (with an agency) impossible. Lasting Forests may change such conditions by managing land, all of its resources, well. It seeks to sustain a profit (invested in itself as appropriate, opening a door for a not-for-profit classification). It is involved in conservation and education and may have a component that is classified as a non-profit organization, one able to accept land as tax-benefit gifts. Similarly, land placed under state-approved easements may be brought under Lasting Forests management. It holds wildland (in all of its dimensions) as a predominant and important resource and is involved in total system management of its many resources. Not an "ecosystem" or environmental organization, its quiet premise is that profits over 100 years cannot be sustained unless the land is very carefully managed using sophisticated programs to integrate ecology, economy, and other factors. Lasting Forests uses a dynamic 100-year planning period (always sliding ahead one year as each year passes).
There really are few new ideas anywhere; most ideas are recycled or renamed. At least, most things new are arrangements of existing things in novel ways. Lasting Forests uses new hardware, new software, new computer models, satellite data, the web of the internet, advanced concepts of forestry and range management, geographic information systems, GPS satellite location for surveys, rapid assessment land measurement - all relatively new, but very new when used together - and it places them in the new "corporation", Lasting Forests.
Old methods are not likely to meet these new needs. Working harder, getting by on less, and keeping on hoping for some relief are not appropriate responses to the total needs environment. What has gone on in the past is not wrong or bad. The environment has changed. Vast knowledge or proven techniques acquired in the past are not to be discarded. These are needed and must be integrated into a new strategy and system. Lasting Forests is one powerful option. Needs, in the final analysis, are expressions of un-met objectives. The following long list of objectives (for later valuation at least in terms of relative importance) suggests the work ahead. The objectives, with computer assistance, need to be balanced and traded-off against each other with new computer aids. Sample objectives for the region (as well as for the landowner within the region) include:
Our past experience with GIS system development (here, an example of a map of forest slopes related to use potentials) allows us to utilize and further develop a dynamic, active, information system for the region and surrounding areas. Site specific data allow previously-impossible analyses and optimization. The information and related software needed includes:
A. A relational database
wildlife and ecological data
tree and pasture data
climatic and air quality data
B. A GIS
200 "layers" of data
model layers (e.g., erosion rates) and probable impacts
change maps (tree growth, mountain erosion, etc.)
C. Automated monitoring (forest decomposition; winds; precipitation; temperature)
D. GPS (global positioning satellites)-created maps - new, precise boundary, road, trail, and stream maps
E. Laboratory - an analytical lab for soils, water, and plant processing
F. Reports - Reports are secured from the Wildland Knowledge Base (see under "Processes")
G. Ideas and Insights - a standard debriefing procedure is followed. Invited experts (Teams) help gain ideas and critiques.
H. Essential inputs of staff, ideas, and money are well recognized.
The separate working units of Lasting Forests, each with its own activities, have been listed above. These are potential units and may be created soon. About 10 will be developed first, simultaneously. The system is unlikely be successful if it "starts small", it increases risk of failure as evident from previous failures of single small units.
Our past experience with GIS System development allows us to utilize and further develop a dynamic, active, information system for the region and surrounding areas. Site specific data allow previously impossible analyses and optimization.
The Five E's
There are five major modeling themes or sub-system concepts that provide some structure to the large Lasting Forests concept. These are the five E's - energy, esthetics, environment (or ecology), economics, and enforcement. The following notes suggest general ideas and the operations within the region under each of these heading.
Activities and developments under the broad topic of energy and net energy budgeting Include (also see The Energy Core):
Activities and developments within the enterprises under this broad topic of esthetics (formerly aesthetics) include:
Activities may include:
Recognizing economies of scale and working to achieve them can increase the successes of small businesses. Herein, is a working premise that when the financial value of resources is more clearly seen; when losses, risks, and gains are clear; and when long consequences of decisions are expressed in current dollars, some improvements in wildland-related decisions can be made. Answers to "why we're not farmin' half as well as we know how", how to deal with changing risks, and the ease of substituting resources, are part of the algorithm developed. The Lasting Forests is formed with over 22 diverse enterprises. The concept has the following economic and financial features:
Clarity of objectives will allow feedback (missing in most public wildland work) to operate. Monitoring with adjustments is needed. Also viewed as a type of "adaptive management", the system that is proposed is grounded in:
Each enterprise has a manager. A system manager assists in all operations. Venture capital "payback" is analyzed annually for the sliding 5-year success period (see The Bottom Line). Each objective is addressed in an annual report.
Feedback addresses objectives (as well as the more conventional parts of the system) - should they be changed. A board of directors works annually with suggestions. Feedback also addresses the inputs - advice, knowledge, data management systems, staff resources gained and their full equitable use.
Energy consumed is a major input of primary concern. Processes may not be most effective, so change is needed. Emphasis on effectiveness, the efficient achievement of carefully stated objectives, is made over work on efficiency alone.
Feedback is usually needed to address the system context, whether it is too narrow or local or where it has "gone too far." A landowner usually limits analyses to the ownership but failures and problems abound if neighbors are not included. An enterprise with national or international outreach interests may need select guidelines to assure limited but sure successes in a timely way. Improving the feedforward systems is difficult and needs to be a persistent effort.
Looking head, then adjusting the present system to get ready for that imagined system, is feedforward. Work of the "teams" can be helpful, but havingdiscussions, using regression models, using simulations, and making regular application of many other available techniques needs to be built into the total operation. Periodic conferences on the future of wildlands may be useful. An annual publication from the small feedforward office is expected to become a heralded event throughout the region, perhaps nationally.
Herein is the concept of a diverse corporation needed to manage natural resources for people in a large dynamic region that is rich in wildland resources. Such a corporation is needed to respond to the daily changes on hundreds of managed sites, but also to the changes in the public as it is changed by travel, television, and new communications. New problems never encountered in resource management arise as the U.S. population becomes more urbanized and removed from the daily risks and realities of living and working in the outdoors. A varied system is needed to accommodate the ponderous pace of the wildlands (200 years to grow a tree to function in an "ancient forest") in the center of a society experiencing daily, even hourly, advances in technology and changes in life style. A place is badly needed to show that some people can "get it all together." People need to be shown that public "forestry" will not suffice; that system building can and needs to be done before one more dollar of research is done; that computer systems (simulations, expert systems, non-linear optimization, GIS-GPS combinations) can allow advances and change today that were previously impossible.
The reasons why Lasting Forests will work are that it:
It may be possible to implement the best imaginable wildland management system in the world. The risks are low; the cost is "high", but high is always relative. The estimated break-even for investments in the total enterprise described herein is within 5 years. The costs of not implementing such a system are for the people of the expansive region to continue on a piece-meal, agency-dominated, highly ineffective set of operations intent on agency mandates and not on a vital economy or quality of life for society. Lasting Forests may not be a bad idea.
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Last revision January 17, 2000.