August 2015 Posts

CLCC Meeting report: Deriving Shared Objectives

The CLCC  recently completed and approved our first science planning document titled,CLCC Science Strategy: Mission Alignment, as an initial step toward identifying shared conservation priorities. While the document met its stated objectives, Steering Committee (SC) members and outside reviewers have suggested the next step is to develop a framework for implementation. To carry out this step, SC members approved the use of a process called Structured Decision-Making (SDM).  SDM is a formal, prescriptive, values-based method for analyzing a decision by breaking the decision into components. The specific process used in the workshop is called “PrOACT,” which refers to the decision components: Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Tradeoffs.  For the purposes of the CLCC, SDM provides a tool for achieving transparent, purposeful, and collaborative co-production of conservation—specifically, multi-partner landscape conservation design (LCD) for the Caribbean region.

To begin working through PrOACT the SC spent four days in El Yunque National Forest with decision support coaches Angela Romero and Mitch Aid (US FWS), Peter Freeman (USVI Independent Consulant) and Wanda Crespo (Estudio Technicos, Inc).

The objectives of this face to face meeting were to (1) introduce participating SC members to the SDM process so that they are comfortable with the process, its application, and its usefulness; (2) Frame “The Problem” SC members are jointly addressing (i.e., Step 1 of PrOACT); and (3) Develop a set of actionable “Objectives” based on CLCC shared values and priorities (i.e., Step 2 of PrOACT).

Steering Committee members agreed upon the following Decision Statement:

“The Caribbean LCC Steering Committee will develop and implement coordinated, efficient, and effective landscape-scale conservation design and strategy to conserve, restore and sustain ecological and cultural resources and services and human well-being in the Caribbean inside and outside of CLCC jurisdictional boundaries. The CLCC recognizes the following constraints and uncertainties: political and social environments, finances, multiple decision making authorities, diverse values, competing priorities, and climatic and ecological dynamics.”

The CLCC Steering Committee recognized themselves as the focal decision-makers and the organizations they represent as the implementers.  The decision timeframe includes a 5-10 year planning horizon, 10-20 year implementation period (to institutionalize LCD), and the impacts of decisions will range from the present to 60 years to quasi-infinite.  The group also agreed that the region of interest is the “terrestrial and marine components within the EEZ of the U.S. Caribbean, and Navassa Island, with consideration of relevant drivers, policies and impacts originating in the wider Caribbean region. The wider Caribbean is defined by UNEP.”

The Steering Committee also agreed upon four Fundamental Objectives, which will frame all future collaborative efforts of the CLCC (no particular order):

  1. Maximize use of available operational resources
  2. Maximize public well-being and satisfaction
  3. Maximize the structure and function of aquatic and terrestrial resources
  4. Maximize the integrity of cultural and historic resources

The Steering Committee agreed to create Tiger Teams, or subteams with a specific short-term task, to flesh out specific objectives and indicators for each of the Fundamental objectives.

Click here for the Executive Summary of the workshop report and the Appendix, which features a fully detailed overview of the 4 day workshop. Questions on this science planning process should be directed to CLCC Science Coordinator Brent Murry.
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Executive Summary of the Deriving Shared Objectives Workshop

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Appendix – a detailed overview of the Deriving Shared Objectives workshop

Forest Stewardship Job Position Announcement – St. Croix, VI Department of Agriculture

JOB OPPORTUNITY

FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM COORDINATOR (EXEMPT)

Announcement from our partners at the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture:

The VI Department of Agriculture has an opening in the Forestry Division for the position of Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator on St. Croix. This position is a federally-funded position, however the successful candidate will be an employee of the VI Dept. of Agriculture. The position does require a BS in forestry or natural resources; a master’s degree would be outstanding. The position also requires experience with GIS mapping. The job description is below for your information. Please let Marilyn Chakroff [marilyn DOT chakroff AT gmail DOT com] know if you are interested in applying for this position. Send her your current resume and she will pass your name and information on to Commissioner Carlos Robles, the new Commissioner. Interviews will be conducted next month as they would like to fill the position ASAP. 

Definition:

This is work managing and developing forestry plans for private forest landowners in the USVI for the purposes of soil conservation and water quality improvement. The intent of the Forest Stewardship Program is to keep private forest lands in forest, and to provide technical assistance to landowners in managing their property for specific goals set forth in forest management plans.

Work is performed under the direction of the State (Territorial) Forester, who is the Commissioner of Agriculture. The incumbent is expected to use considerable judgment and creativity in the management of the program.

 

Duties (Not all-inclusive):

The primary duties of the Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator are to:

  1. Work with and make recommendations to landowners relative to retaining lands in a well-kept, forested state for a period of 10 years or more;
  2. Conduct evaluation of property using a combination of methods connected with the principles of silviculture and soil conservation;
  3. Prepare written forest stewardship plans, which describe existing forested areas, the tree species, and the type of measures needed to retain the forests, and any future plans for the forested area;
  4. Budget and monitor Forest Stewardship Program income and expenditures of funds; and
  5. Any other related duty as requested by the State Forester.

In addition to the above, the Coordinator also works with the USDA – Forest Service – International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) personnel in managing and reporting on cooperative agreements and grants that provide the funding for this and other forestry programs.

 

Factors

Factor 1: Knowledge Required by the Position

To operate as the Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator, the incumbent must have a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry, with particular knowledge of forest biology, soils, silviculture, and other forestry topics. The course of study should include at least 30 semester hours of a combination of biological, chemical, and physical sciences, as well as surveying and technical drawing. A Master’s degree in Forestry is preferred. Knowledge of Arc View, Arc Explorer, Arc GIS or similar software and basic accounting principles is preferred.

Factor 2: Supervisory Controls

The State (Territorial) Forester assigns work to the Coordinator in terms of overall objectives and priorities of the territory-wide Forest Stewardship Program. Completed work is reviewed in terms of its conformance to agency policy and priorities, and to overall resource program objectives. The work is performed independently with considerable latitude for the exercise of judgment in determining solutions and resolving technical problems.

Factor 3: Guidelines

Guidelines consist of agency-wide directives as established by the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Stewardship Program, and the VI Department of Agriculture. The employee must use resourcefulness and experienced judgment in applying agency directives to local conditions.

Factor 4: Complexity

The nature of the work under Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator involves direct interaction with the public; in this case, private landowners with forested lands. Assignments involve the implementation of sound forestry management practices as the Coordinator works with, and writes forest management plans for, private landowners. The employee must be innovative and versatile in approach, and must modify or adapt standard techniques and practices, and improvise solutions to solve varied problems.

Factor 5: Scope and Effect

The overall purpose of the Forest Stewardship Program is to preserve and protect forested lands in private ownership in order to protect soil and water resources of the U.S. Virgin Islands. To this end, the Coordinator works with private landowners to help identify additional objectives for managing their forested properties. Landowners participating in the program receive technical assistance from the Coordinator, and others who advise the Coordinator, and may receive tax benefits as a result of their participation. The work impacts the use of private forested lands in the Territory, protecting scenic views, providing wildlife habitat, preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality, and providing natural areas that benefit the population as a whole.

Factor 6: Personal Contacts

The Coordinator works with other employees of the VI Department of Agriculture on a daily basis, and with private landowners who are participants in the Forest Stewardship Program. In addition, the Coordinator is involved with people representing other community-based organizations that relate in some way to forestry. Contacts are made by telephone, email, fax, and in person. Examples of people with whom that Coordinator works are representatives from the: USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service; the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service; the St. George Village Botanical Garden; and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico. The Coordinator also works with teachers and students at local schools as time allows.

Factor 7: Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of the above personal contacts are to ensure timely and efficient implementation of the Territorial Forest Stewardship Program and objectives set forth by the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, upon its approval of financial assistance to the VI Government.

Factor 8: Physical Demands

No unusual physical efforts are required; however, some properties have terrain that is difficult to negotiate, and some properties have no road access.

Factor 8: Work Environment

The majority of the work is performed in an air-conditioned office setting. However, the nature of the work requires frequent travel to all three islands, to Puerto Rico, and to the U.S. several times a year, as required. Work is also done out-of-doors in undeveloped areas, requiring hiking through forests and bush.

 

Minimum Qualifications

The position of Forest Stewardship Program Coordinator requires a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry, or a Bachelor’s degree in related sciences such as botany, biology, or chemistry, with the requisite 30 hours of coursework in forestry-related subjects such as soil science and silviculture. Candidates with experience as a certified arborist or naturalists may also be suitable for the position, with at least four years of experience working in their field, or a combination of education and experience equaling four years. Preference given to candidates with a Master of Science degree in forestry or forestry-related courses of study.