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Forest Collaborative Group Effectiveness in Eastern Oregon


Participants:
 Brent Summers, Robert Scheller

Collaborators:  Nathan Poage (Clackamas Stewardship Partners)

Status:  Completed

Abstract:  Collaborative planning has been used as a tool to address natural resource conflicts and engage those affected by federal land management agency decisions. The United States Forest Service (USFS) is mandated by law to involve the public on project-level planning. In Oregon, Forest Collaborative Groups have been engaging with the USFS to involve stakeholders who are concerned with the activities on National Forests. It is widely believed that these groups are reducing project-level appeals and objections (appeals); however, there is no empirical evidence to validate these beliefs. National Environmental Protect Act (NEPA) document data were collected from the USFS for 2006 to 2012. Data from harvesting and fuels treatment activities were selected for six National Forests in central and eastern Oregon. These projects are of concern due to the large cumulative effect they have on National Forests ecosystems and the surrounding communities. Potential cumulative effects can divide stakeholders, causing project-level appeals. To determine Forest Collaborative Group involvement, NEPA document lists were sent to each of the ten groups.  The collaborative groups were asked to note if their group was involved in the planning process.  Responses were compiled and odds ratio analysis was used to determine the likelihood of an appeal of a NEPA document over time.  

The results for eastern Oregon suggest that projects that have input from a Forest Collaborative Group may be less likely to be appealed.  Individually, the Deschutes, Ochoco, and Wallowa-Whitman results suggest the same.  The Fremont-Winema and Malheur results suggest projects without collaborative group input are less likely to be appealed.  There are many other factors that could be affecting appeal levels however.  For example, broadening the definition of collaboration would most likely increase the number of NEPA documents with collaborative input and could decrease the likelihood of collaborative projects being appealed.  Timber sale and fuel treatment projects are historically controversial and may be predisposed to be appealed or objected.  In addition, external appeals and objections can stall a proposed project even where local support for a project exists.  Finally, the Forest Collaborative Groups may be limited in their capacity to engage on multiple projects at any one time.  The results of my research suggest that Forest Collaborative Groups are producing NEPA documents that are less likely to be appealed or objected.

Publications and Presentations:

August 28, 2014: Presented Masters research to the Umatilla Forest Collaborative Group; Pendleton, OR

August 12, 2014: Poster presentation at Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting 2014; Sacramento, CA

May 30, 2014: Masters of Environmental Management Defense presentation; Portland State University, Portland, OR.  Video recording can be found here

November 1, 2013: Poster presented at Environmental Science and Management Graduate Student Research Colloquium; Portland State University, Portland, OR


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Brent Summers,
May 27, 2014, 1:35 PM
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Brent Summers,
Jun 30, 2014, 3:47 PM
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Brent Summers,
Nov 8, 2013, 9:01 AM
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Brent Summers,
Aug 21, 2014, 11:08 AM
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