The southern forest futures project: using public input to define the issues
The Southern Forest Futures Project has been designed to evaluate the implications of potential futures for the many goods and services forests in the Southeastern United States provide. To ensure that the Futures Project is comprehensive and relevant, we have begun with a thorough scoping of issues using a process that elicits input from various interested publics. We have held public meetings in 14 locations around the South and through 3 online â€œWebinars.â€� The meeting sites provided at least two public meetings in each of five ecological subregions and no fewer than one public meeting in each State. We gathered > 2,200 comments using a structured-workshop format and processed the compiled data to define a comprehensive view of how forces of change may reshape forests, and how these changes could affect the various goods, services, and values of forest ecosystems. We also identified a set of meta-issues that warrant in-depth analysis to evaluate their potential influence on the future of forests. These topics of concern include bioenergy, climate change, forest ownership change, invasive species, fire, taxes, and water. The input on meta-issues, forces of change, and resource implications will be used to organize subsequent stages of the Southern Forest Futures Project.