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Title: The Northwest Forest Plan as a model for broad-scale ecosystem management: a social perspective.

Author: Charnely, Susan.;

Date: 2006

Source: Conservation Biology. 20(2): 330-340

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: I evaluated the Northwest Forest Plan as a model for ecosystem management to achieve social and economic goals in communities located around federal forests in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. My assessment is based on the results of socioeconomic monitoring conducted to evaluate progress in achieving the plan's goals during its past 10 years. The assessment criteria I used related to economic development and social justice. The Northwest Forest Plan incorporated economic development and social justice goals in its design. Socioeconomic monitoring results indicate that plan implementation to achieve those goals met with mixed success, however. I hypothesize there are two important reasons the plan's socioeconomic goals were not fully met: some of the key assumptions underlying the implementation strategies were flawed and agency institutional capacity to achieve the goals was limited. To improve broad-scale ecosystem management in the future, decisionmakers should ensure that natural resource management policies are socially acceptable; land-management agencies have the institutional capacity to achieve their management goals; and social and economic management goals (and the strategies for implementing them) are based on accurate assumptions about the relations between the resources being managed and well-being in local communities. One of the difficulties of incorporating economic development and social justice goals in conservation initiatives is finding ways to link conservation behavior and development activities. From a social perspective, the Northwest Forest Plan as a model for ecosystem management is perhaps most valuable in its attempt to link the biophysical and socioeconomic goals of forest management by creating high-quality jobs for residents of forest communities in forest stewardship and ecosystem management work, thereby contributing to conservation.

Keywords: Conservation and development, forest management, rural communities, socioeconomic monitoring

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Charnely, Susan. 2006. The Northwest Forest Plan as a model for broad-scale ecosystem management: a social perspective. Conservation Biology. 20(2): 330-340


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