Montana Forest Restoration Committee
Restoring Montana's Forests - A New Approach

Preamble

Through restoration principles we seek to articulate and collective vision of ecologically-appropriate, scientifically-supported forest restoration. Scientifically- credible principles and criteria provide a yardstick with which to evaluate proposed forest restoration policies and projects. And by including social criteria, the restoration principles also help strengthen the connection between what is good for the forest and what is good for the communities and the general public.

We advocate integrating science with community participation in restoration on the assumption that successful ecosystem restoration must address ecological, economic, and social needs including community vitality. A locally- or regionally-based restoration work force is an essential component for the implementation of our principles.

Restoration principles provide a transparent and verifiable on the ground approach to guide and evaluate the efficacy of restoration projects, programs, and policies. They can be used to guide restoration assessments that are conducted at multiple spatial scales, using methodologies and criteria for adaptive management through monitoring and evaluation of restoration projects.

These principles recognize that restoration projects may have adverse short-term impacts that are acceptable when they support long-term benefits. These principles for restoration should be used as guidelines for project development as they represent the “zone of agreement” where controversy, delays, appeals, and litigation are significantly reduced. Projects using these principles should be driven primarily by ecological objectives, be economically feasible and promote economic and social benefits.

As we lay out in the following principles, restoration projects are an investment in the future with multiple benefits. Not all restoration projects will have commercial value. Where commercial products are present, they should be utilized to help offset project costs. Since not all restoration projects can be funded by the sale of products, increased restoration funding from governmental and nongovernmental sources is essential to accomplishing restoration goals.

In order to maintain broad public support for projects characterized by the Forest Service as restoration projects, such projects must be prioritized and designed to implement the principles contained in this document.