This paper examines laws, policies, organizations and other governance elements and arrangements that influence forest conservation and sustainable resource management in the U.S. through a set of 10 Indicators associated with Criterion Seven of the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators Framework. The applicability and utility of these indicators as a measure of forest governance at the national level is examined and associated quantitative and qualitative data are presented and discussed. In the U.S., a broad range of laws governs public lands, dictating management processes and practices. Federal and state laws protect wildlife and endangered species on all public and private lands, and foster a range of prescribed and voluntary forest practices to protect water, air, and other public goods and services on private lands. Federal and state laws also provide for technical and financial assistance, research, education, and planning on private forest lands. Market based mechanisms increasingly are used to advance forest sustainability, as are policies, programs, and partnerships that link related policy networks, purposes, and desired outcomes across an expanding range of sectors. Nevertheless, challenges in advancing forest sustainability in the U.S. remain, particularly where incentives for sustainable forest management are low and pressures for development and agriculture are high. Furthermore, while such multilateral agreements help identify common forest goals, develop metrics, and report individual country status, they by no means enforce specific forest practices or ensure good forest governance.
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Vol. 19 • No. 2