Arrow IFPA Series: Note 3 of 8: Public processes in sustainable forest management for the Arrow Forest District


  • Stephen R.J. Sheppard
  • Michael J. Meitner
  • Howard W. Harshaw
  • Norma Wilson
  • Cindy Pearce


decision support, multi-criteria assessment, public consultation, public opinion survey, public participation, social sustainability, social values, stakeholder analysis


This extension note is the third in a series of eight that describes a set of tools and processes developed to support sustainable forest management planning and its pilot application in the Arrow Timber Supply Area (TSA). It summarizes the main public involvement processes used to obtain input to the Arrow Innovative Forest Practices Agreement (IFPA) Sustainability Project, contributing to the development and evaluation of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management (SFM). This early public input guided the selection of criteria and indicators for the SFM pilot basecase analysis in the Lemon Landscape Unit.

Sustainable forest management must be sustainable in a social sense and should incorporate public values. This extension note describes and evaluates several methods for involving the public in forest management planning. A standard mail survey was used to gather public perception data across a large geographic area (the former Arrow Forest District and the adjacent community of Nelson). Based on a systematic analysis of stakeholders in the IFPA area, a more focussed multi-criteria analysis (MCA) process was used to investigate stakeholder priorities and preferences for forest management scenarios at the landscape unit level. Although directed at different purposes and levels of detail, the survey and MCA processes identified some similar public values across a range of stakeholders. Both methods offer some advantages over more common public involvement processes used in British Columbia. To incorporate a broad range of public opinion, the use of multiple methods of evaluating public values is suggested in decision-making processes at various scales.