Socio-Economic Indicators for Forest Restoration Projects


A model for assessing the socio-economic outcomes of forest restoration projects was developed. Using snowball sampling, eleven experts with backgrounds in the social, economic, and business aspects of forest restoration were identified and agreed to participate in the process. Four iterations of a Delphi process, an iterative approach that systematically aims to achieve consensus among a group of experts who remain anonymous to each other, resulted in a practical, robust model capable of evaluating the social and economic effects and outcomes of a wide range of forest restoration projects. Among the most highly rated indicators in the model were those related to job creation, community stability, economic impacts, and collaborative participation in restoration processes. The relative importance of the indicators was estimated and specific metrics were developed for each indicator in the model. Upon completion of the Delphi process, the model was discussed with forest restoration monitoring practitioners and stakeholders, who offered their perspectives from practitioners' points-of-view and helped to refine the model for a specific forest restoration program in New Mexico. The use of a Delphi process to develop socio-economic indicators for restoration projects may have utility in other, similar efforts. In addition, aspects of the model and the indicators developed by this study may be relevant for any forest restoration efforts with an interest in assessing a project's social and economic outcomes.