This week, we have a story focused a new organization called the North American Forest Partnership. With the goal of full transparency, I want to let you know that I was involved in the development of the partnership as a contractor for the Forest Business Network and for the past eight-plus months as an unpaid volunteer, because I believe the goals of the partnership are laudable.
Matt Blois’ article explores this partnership, and the similarities and differences from other trade or business sectors that develop promotional campaigns. One difference is that it has members who have litigated against each other at times in the past and potentially could again in the future, so there are built-in tensions.
However, the members have come together because they see common ground AND they see that their individual organizations have important values and purposes that serve society through very different methods. A publicly traded timberland company is focused on wood production to meet societal demands for renewable wood products, while publicly owned wilderness areas preclude all harvest and serve society’s needs for wild areas – places that feed the soul, and provide space for natural disturbances such as fire, hurricanes and ice storms to proceed unaltered so we can learn from those processes. Conservation organizations, family forest owners and academics have goals that run the gamut between these. The NAFP recognizes the legitimacy and celebrates all of these different forests.
Can this partnership achieve its goals of communicating these common values and at times exploring their differences? Only time will tell. We at Treesource think this is an important story that focuses strongly on the social leg of the sustainability stool. Our current capital “P” political world in the United States is polarized and operating in a mode of, “if you’re not with me, you’re against me.” NAFP is attempting to break that mold. [Read more…]