The terms foresters and planners in the United States use to infer sustainability in forest management plans: A survey analysis
Sustainable forest management is important for advancing sustainable societal development. Effective communication plays a major role in how goals and objectives are achieved. This study aims to assess how sustainability is considered by people who develop forest management plans (or forest plans in short). We employed the snowball sample technique to locate the study's respondents. In addition, an open-ended questionnaire and a mix method data collection (phone and email) and analysis (qualitative and quantitative) were found to be adequate methods to survey forest planners who have been involved in the development, implementation, evaluation, and/or revision of forest plans in the United States. Our approach helped us to understand their perceptions of and means of incorporating sustainability concerns in forest plans. A total of 55 surveys were completed by forest planners physically located in 26 of the 50 states in the country. Results suggested that planners generally placed environmental sustainability concerns over social and economic sustainability concerns. A variety of key terms were central to forest planners' attempts to communicate sustainability, from which most were associated with philosophical and temporal principles that would then be associated with concrete actions and the human dimension. Nevertheless, respondents also acknowledged difficulties and misunderstandings in describing how forest sustainability should be demonstrated within a forest plan. Topics such as restoration, carbon sequestration, and resilience were infrequently associated with sustainability and sustainable forest management. Finally, we found that the respondents were divided on whether the language used in forest plans to demonstrate sustainability could be improved.