Problem Identification

Each project is unique and has its own unique set of problems to be solved. It can be assumed, however, that the problem concerns the unsustainable utilization of a given forest area, whether the unsustainability is related to timber yield, biodiversity, non-timber products, forest dwellers or dependents or related forest services - or a combination of these factors.

The problem has a specific local context in which it occurs. As an impediment to SFM it should be possible to identify a SFM criterion which is being violated. For example, a project that aims to prevent gulley erosion in a forested catchment, through improved forest management, relates directly to ITTO criterion 6. - Soil and Water, which is concerned with the protection of soil and water within the forest as a foundation for forest well being, and the downstream impact on water quality, flood risk and sedimentation.

In order to be solved the problem must be fully understood and conceptualized. SFM is complex; the complexity of a problem, and the ability to describe, understand and solve it, may be masked by a specific stakeholder view of, or perspective on, the system - based upon our specific agenda and priorities. The example of gulley erosion may have its origin in road building for a mining activity, but it may in turn affect timber value, a conservation forest area down stream and agriculture and livelihoods outside of the forest.

Stakeholder Perspectives on a SFM Problem.

The problem, the solution and its implementation are dependent on our perspective from where we stand as a stakeholder. Fully understanding and describing the problem involves taking into account multiple perspectives onto it and coming to terms with difficult situations where one stakeholder's problem may be another stakeholder's benefit.