Characterizing the sustainable forestry issue network in thc United States
Issue network analysis techniques were applied to the issue sustainable forestry in the United States to identify potential public and private outcomes for the issue. A quantitative approach based on work by Laumann and Knoke [(The Organizational State (1987)] was utilized in conjunction with the Delphi method. Results suggest that the parity in the distribution of influence among network sectors means that moving the issue of sustainable forestry onto the formal policy agenda will require more consensus on problems and solutions than exits at the present time. Accordingly, broad policy actions resulting from the expansion of the issue of sustainable forestry are unlikely in the short-term. However, experts on the Delphi panel anticipate that changes will occur in response to sustainability issues. At the federal and state level, this is likely to result in changes to public forest management and to the objectives assigned to the USDA Forest Service and to the state forestry agencies. States are projected to draft new and to change old private forest practices regulations as a result of sustainable forest concerns. In the private sector, the trend of applying criteria and indicator-based sustainable forestry management standards and certification programs will continue. Non-industrial private forest owners are project to make the fewest direct accommodations. Finally, where directly comparable, the Delphi study's results were not significantly different from the quantitative approach, suggesting that Delphi has promise for network research applications.