The most recent article I read was by a member of a state wilderness association, where he pointed out several concerns he had with the process and the willingness of his association to participate in the effort. It was obvious he supported the concept of "Preservation" for management of our forested lands, which I believe is a management concept that has far out lived it potential, but he did offer several important concerns about the collaboration process. First, it is pointed out that many potentially effected and interested people are left out. I have emphasized on many occasions that participation by invitation is totally unacceptable! It is the responsibility of the public decision-maker to identify and contact all potentially effected interests. To do anything less will definitely put a proposed solution at high risk.
"COLLABORATION" by definition is a process where various groups and individuals come together to work on finding an acceptable solution to a commonly held problem. I still find that most processes are focused on tools and techniques, not clearly defined and accepted problems. Why would anyone support a solution if the problem has not or can not be defined? Seems like we insist on short cutting the process over and over again!
It is encouraging to see public agencies attempting to reach out to the people whose lands they have been entrusted to manage, but we have got to do a better job of defining the importance of our remaining forested lands to the human environment and the necessity of improving the health and diversity of these vital public forest communities. Being able to clearly define management goals and objectives and then compare them to current conditions is the way we identify the true problems.
I personally believe, that once public forest land mangers are able to recognize and appreciate the vital role our remaining forest communities play in the future survival of our own species, we will find that neither "Preservation" or "Conservation" will provide the desired future we require!