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Indicators for the Sustainable Management of French Forests - 2005 edition

The French Ministry of Agriculture has just released "Indicators for the sustainable management of French forests - 2005 edition", published in English. This is the third edition of this report that has been published every five years since 1995. It is available online at http://www.ifn.fr/spip/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=85&lang=en.

The report analyses information from 56 indicators, reviewing the progress and problems encountered in applying sustainable management strategies in French forests. The broad range of topics covered under the six criteria clearly highlights the complexity of situations encountered and the need for a global approach to sustainable forest management. The report also features information on the impact of two major climatic events that had a serious impact on metropolitan French forests since the previous edition of the report, i.e. the severe storms of late December 1999 and the drought-heat wave of 2003. An in-depth analysis of the impacts of these events is presented under Criterion 2 (Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality).

Conference confirms international interest in C&I still strong

Last June in Poland, the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), the Montreal Process and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) held a workshop on criteria and indicators as a means of fostering more collaboration among their C&I processes.

The reports from this meeting are now available on the Montreal Process website
Summary - http://www.mpci.org/other/Poland/summary_e.html
Full document - http://www.mpci.org/other/Poland/report_e.html

Three papers were prepared for the meeting that may be of interest to anyone engaged in developing or reporting on indicators of sustainable forest management, whether at the local, regional or national level. They are:

What can indicator processes learn from news organisations?

Any serious news organisation today should also allow its community of readers to join in the editorial conversation - and many now have designed their websites to do just that. However, it took some time for news editors and publishers to get over the idea that the internet and user-generated content represented a threat to their publishing model.

To my mind, there are commonalities between newspapers and Criteria and Indicator reports for Sustainable Forest Management (or State of the Forest Reports). Both want their readers to see them as an authoritative source of information, neither wants their readers straying to competing reporting sources, and initially at least, both worried about the nature of content users would generate and whether or not it would be more damaging than useful. Therefore, I was intrigued when I read about a recent poll that asked media executives for ideas as to how big media firms could respond to the new "threats" posed by user-generated content. Suggestions included:

Designing Indicator reports for the Web 2.0

Designing indicator reports that are effective and accessible to a variety of audiences requires considerable creativity, even when the report is produced only in paper form. However, with the Internet, this process has become a lot more complicated. In the past, the favoured approach seems to have been to produce the paper report and then post it on a web site. However, as I have said before, the age of the publish-and-browse internet is coming to an end. The new web, sometimes referred to as Web 2.0, presents a vastly different model that offers unprecedented opportunities for collaboration amongst self-organizing communities of interest. Indicator processes need to take advantage of this new Web.

Hack this data!

Much like how blogs revolutionized online publishing, mashups are revolutionizing web development by giving creative power to the masses. Many mashups are relatively easy to design with minimal technical knowledge, and thus custom mashups are being designed by unlikely innovators, utilizing data in creative and unique ways.

Take, for example, www.scorecard.org. The US-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) launched the application in 1998 (yes, that's right, almost 10 years ago) to aggregate hundreds of sources of public data to create a powerful USA-wide tool for assessing environmental risks. Visitors to the site can type in their zip code and get instant access to a wealth of indicators and information about pollution sources in their region.

Watershed health across the USA

Gapminder data presentation tool may soon allow users to add their own data

In an earlier post, I wrote about gapminder.org, an interesting website by Swedish prof Hans Rosling that displays human wellbeing indicator data in innovative ways.

Prof Rosling has also created an interactive tool for playing with the data provided by the United Nations Development Program, which is available at http://tools.google.com/gapminder/.

The tool in and of itself is really interesting in that the user can manipulate the data in a multitude of ways and easily track changes over time. What is even more interesting, however, is that it appears that Prof Rosling will soon make the software available for anyone to use and import their own data to play with.

Town of Whistler unveils innovative SD site with indicators

This email from Dan Wilson from the Town of Whistler was forwarded to me. The Whistler 2020 site is definitely worth checking out.

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A year ago I asked the network if they knew of software tool that helped manage and analyze indicator data while providing a seamless link to a web reporting mechanism. After a year of searching and hard work, Whistler and technology provider Credit 360 launched the Whistler 2020 - A shared Sustainable Future website that reflects the community 2020 vision, plan, and performance indicators toward being a successful and sustainable mountain tourism destination resort. The site uniquely ties together policy, actions and indicators while also acting as a transparent action management and tracking tool.

drat - I agree

I agree with the comments made by tpayn (http://www.sfmindicators.org/drat). In order to avoid being swamped with indicator info, there needs to be a way to categorize info. If the software that runs this site allows for it, I would suggest allowing bloggers to add tags to their entries and then providing a "tag cloud" on the left of the blog page. This will allow the community to generate their own categories, rather than one of the developers having to subjectively try to define blog posts in categories. It would also be useful if there was a way to add comments to a blog entry. If ther

Effective presentation of indicator data

For anyone interested in the effective presentation of indicator data, I recommend that you check out the site of Hans Rosling, a Swedish professor who runs a non-profit called Gapminder (gapminder.org) that specializes in using public data to expose global inequalities. His website is loaded with interacive flash applications that illustrate a wide range of human development issues.

Making good use of data is hard to do. It takes great creativity and skill to put data into graphical formats that non-experts can readily understand. Prof Rosling is well ahead of the curve on this.

I think that there is a lesson here for indicator report developers. Let’s open up indicator databases and make them searchable and “mashable” so that more people can participate in creating Web-based applications that demonstrate how the world is changing around us. The pay-offs measured in terms of knowledge-creation and advocacy could be enormous.

What the heck is Sustainable Forest Management?

Are you seeking an understandable description of Sustainable Forest Management written in clear, concise English? Do you have a description you want to share? Do you want to clear up some consistent misconceptions?

Go to the newly established article on SFM on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_forest_management) and contribute your knowledge.

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