Date of Award

5-2006

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

David B. Field

Second Committee Member

Lloyd C. Irland

Third Committee Member

Gregory K. White

Abstract

Despite the continued importance of the forest resources to the State of Maine that led to the initial forester registration law in 1975, forester regulation has been the subject of only one program audit and policy review. That occurred 20 years ago, in 1986.

It is important to understand the need for a periodic forester regulatory program review even if there are no currently apparent or expected public interest or resource protection related issues.

There have been many significant changes since the last forester regulatory program and policy review that have impacted forest policy, management, and the related forestry based economy. It is difficult to determine how these collective influences have combined to justify additional regulatory measures, or abated the need for it. It would be purely coincidental if the sum of these influences has yielded a “no net change” result.

The State of Maine has invested significant resources in the planning and management of the forest resources, but a disproportionate amount of policy time and focus has been given to the professionals who manage it. Public policy in previous decades regulated the practitioner. Some 30 years later, the State has significantly increased the amount of legislated and regulated forest practices pertaining to management, harvesting, and related forest management procedures and influences. This has resulted in more policy attention being given to the practice, and not the practitioner. Have we regulated the practice so much that the practitioner’s (forester’s) importance to the process has changed? It likely has, but how it has is less clear.

It is very difficult to objectively determine whether forester regulation should continue in its present form. If a program policy review was undertaken today, it would likely be inconclusive or yield ineffective results because it would be impaired, or result to some degree in subjective analyses due in part to insufficient or non-existing data. Inconsistent regulatory program review evaluation criteria used by the State of Maine must also be considered. Different criteria are used depending on whether an existing regulatory program is undergoing a periodic policy and program review, or if a profession or occupation is the subject of becoming regulated for the first time or an existing program is substantially expanded.

The probability of an inadequate Board program review, if not substantially delayed or waived entirely, appears likely under the present circumstances. This result would be in sharp contrast to a sunrise review. The utilization of the sunrise review process would result in the most objective findings given present program review options because of its intended purpose and the use of specific criteria.

Board administration can also be improved in several areas including the more timely appointment of Board members, and recommended review of Board administration and operations to ensure that optimum efficiencies and cost controls are being achieved.

Share