Forest Policy Formation in the United States
If an individual or a group seeks to influence forest policy, then he or it must understand how forest policy is now formed, and how it might be formed. Otherwise, efforts to influence policy are likely to be ineffective or frustrated. By forest policy, I mean all public actions (generally this means actions by government at some level) which significantly affect the use and management of forests, both publicly and privately owned ones. Some actions or measures are directed at forests, while others have different primary objectives but nevertheless affect forests significantly; the line between the direct and indirect measures is obviously neither neat nor sharp. Some measures produce intended effects upon forest use and management, others do not produce the intended or desired effects, while still others have unintentional or unplanned or unexpected results. As with many other aspects of modern life, it is often impossible not to have a policy; that is, the decision to do nothing about some situation may be as important and as effective a policy as any line of action that could have been devised. "Policy" surely connotes some major degree of purpose-an intent, a conscious consideration with a chosen answer, even when the answer is to do nothing.