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ISSN: 0022-1201

Editor:
Don C. Bragg



Current Issue

Volume 113, Number 3, May 2015
  • brief communication
    social science

    Concern for Information Privacy among Private Forest Landowners in Oregon

    ABSTRACT  

    Due to a growing number of forest landowners and decreasing budgets and staffing levels, agencies and assistance providers are increasingly using information technology to more efficiently engage landowners. However, there is a risk that as the collection and analysis of information increase in scope, landowners will begin to feel their privacy is being invaded. The author surveyed forest landowners in Oregon to assess the dimensionality and degree of their concern for information privacy. While levels of concern were generally high, landowners were not more concerned with the privacy of information related to their land than with the privacy of their personal information. Landowners were most concerned with unauthorized use of and improper access to information about their land. Organizations could benefit from examining in-place privacy policies and conducting further research to ensure the privacy needs of clients are being met.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Natural resource agencies, Extension Forestry programs, and NGOs are increasingly using information technology to identify, classify, and engage with forest landowners more efficiently. Previous studies in the fields of online commerce and health care show that people are fearful that as the collection and use of personal information increases, the risk of harmful misuse of that data also increases. This exploratory study provides guidance to managers as they create or revise privacy policies to help address similar concerns among landowner clients. Findings suggest that landowners are most concerned about unauthorized secondary use of and improper access to information about their property. However, while there is some prior evidence suggesting forest landowners as a group may be particularly sensitive to infringements on their privacy, this study did not support that narrative and pushback against the use of advanced analytical methods should not be the norm. Organizations that work with landowners should confirm the results of this exploratory study by gauging concerns among potentially affected clients about specific policies or policy changes. This more specific quantitative or qualitative research would yield insight into the degree and dimensionality of privacy concerns of clients of an organization and could also identify heretofore unrecognized concerns.

  • research articles
    economics

    The Economic Foundations of Firefighting Organizations and Institutions

    ABSTRACT  

    This article examines the complex structure of wildland firefighting using the economic theories of contracts, property rights, and organization. We examine historical and cross-sectional case studies and consider the implications for contemporary wildfire management. Wildfires have characteristics that make their management and control complex and seemingly inefficient. Their occurrence has great spatiotemporal variance, and preparation and timeliness are crucial for effective suppression. Fires tend not to coincide with landownership boundaries, which affect private and public incentives to fight fires. Firefighting institutions vary substantially over time and space, ranging from private individual and cooperative action to large-scale centralized government intervention, military style organization, specialization, and prepositioned investments. We examine the implications of how incentives can affect suppression and asset protection decisions in the face of changing land use and land cover and how these changes can affect firefighting costs and other outcomes such as fire size.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    The organization of wildland firefighting ranges from individual and cooperative action to large-scale centralized government intervention with military-style hierarchy, specialization, and prepositioned investments. Although the modern US firefighting complex has become increasingly effective along many dimensions, it is also criticized as being costly, wasteful, and rife with incentive problems. This article examines the economic foundations of observed firefighting institutions using theories of contracts and economic organization. Gains from specialization and coordination provide a basis for complex transactions among property owners, firefighting specialists, and the public sector, but at the cost of skewed incentives resulting from the economic separation between asset owners and firefighting activity. We bring this economic perspective to historical and cross-sectional case studies and consider the implications for contemporary wildfire management. For example, whereas active suppression may have made economic sense for homogeneous timber assets when rural suppression and exclusion practices were born, the wildland-urban interface calls for very different firefighting organization with emphasis on point protection and portends the decline of fire size and acres burned as a relevant outcome metric. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of a focus on incentives in the context of a changing economic, demographic, and climatic environment.

    silviculture

    Vegetation Communities in Intensively Established Loblolly Pine Plantations at Crown Closure

    ABSTRACT  

    The potential effects of increasing herbicide use on vegetation communities and wildlife habitat have implications for biodiversity conservation and sustainability. We examined the response of understory vegetation to a gradient of plantation establishment intensity 6-8 years after planting in southern Mississippi, USA. Treatments were combinations of mechanical site preparation, chemical site preparation, and banded or broadcast herbaceous weed control. We compared species richness, coverage, and diversity indices for seven vegetation growth forms. Increasing pine coverage appeared to be the primary driver of vegetation change during this period. Herbaceous vegetation coverage declined each year in concert with increasing slash and litter coverage. Vines and woody species comprised most understory vegetation cover; woody species richness and coverage increased each year in all treatments. Mechanical site preparation maintained greater vegetation diversity and coverage than chemical site preparation at crown closure; the effects of different herbaceous weed control regimes were no longer detectable. Our results suggest that the influence of intensive stand establishment regimes, particularly chemical site preparation, can persist to crown closure. However, effects on wildlife habitat quality during this period were slight, and managers interested in promoting biodiversity should concentrate on managing for a variety of early succession communities.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Intensive management is a common approach in industrial pine forests of the southeastern United States. In southern Mississippi, vegetation communities at crown closure continued to be affected by stand establishment regimes examined in this study, particularly the use (or absence) of chemical site preparation. Mechanical site preparation resulted in greater vegetation diversity and coverage than chemical site preparation 6-8 years after establishment. Woody competition was reduced by one-third in treatments with chemical site preparation. Conversely, the effects of different levels of herbaceous weed control so prominent in years 1-3 were no longer detectable. Increasing competition from crop trees was the primary driver of change in plant community metrics. The most intensive management regimes (i.e., those with broadcast herbaceous weed control) were not necessary to secure well-stocked stands, added additional expense that increases financial risk, and provided the fewest opportunities for improving biodiversity. However, if efficient treatment of large land holdings dictates broadcast herbaceous weed control, a single application is a better alternative than no treatment. Given the minimal effects of stand establishment regime during years 6-8, managers in this region interested in incorporating biodiversity goals can instead focus on results achievable in years 1-5. Situationally appropriate use of intensive management regimes can provide a variety of early succession habitats to address landscape-scale biodiversity goals. Forest managers can use these data to consider the potential effects on biodiversity when making decisions affecting commodity production.

    social sciences

    Stakeholder Attitudes Toward Reforestation and Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in the Mississippi Delta

    ABSTRACT  

    After more than a century of deforestation and fragmentation, the landscape of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley is once again changing through natural and artificial reforestation. Yet natural resource managers cite widespread failure to manage the newly wooded areas, which can have negative implications for long-term conservation goals. Paradoxically, resident attitudes have largely been overlooked in the fervor to reforest the region. In this study, focus group findings indicated participants' support for reforestation, and management was intertwined with environmental, social, and cultural characteristics of the landscape. A changing land cover has implications for local identity, social class, race, and economic sustainability, in addition to soil and water conservation. This research underscores the need to balance policies focused on the ecological aspects of reforestation with stakeholders' attitudes reflecting the local dynamics of forest transition. Findings have implications for educational outreach and policies seeking to encourage the growth of forest cover in regions dominated by production agriculture.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Understanding stakeholder attitudes toward reforestation is critical to long-term conservation management in deforested landscapes dominated by production agriculture. When land managers and policymakers base decisions on assumptions about residents' interests and objectives, the results lead to increased uncertainty, an erosion of trust between the public and government agencies, and disengaged stakeholders who are less likely to stick with forest management over the long term. Despite the efforts of conservation programs, long-term net forest expansion may be limited by a number of social and ecological factors. Policy should integrate landowners' economic uncertainties and tradeoffs but should also be flexible enough to account for values to the land and stakeholder communities. Assessment can be accomplished efficiently using exploratory case study focus groups. Questions in such studies can be tailored to specific circumstances and can adapt to the responses given by previous informants. After assessment, policy actions can occur at multiple levels. These may include tree spacing requirements suitable for timber and game production, incentives for ensuring forest products reach market, and promotion of joint planning and pooled resources. Finally, landowner and community education along with peer-to-peer networks to engage specific subgroups are tools that encourage sustainable forest management through adaptation.

    Working n the Shadows: Safety and Health in Forestry Services in Southern Oregon

    ABSTRACT  

    We conducted a small participatory survey to document occupational injuries and illnesses, medical treatment, wage issues, and general working conditions among 150 forest workers in southern Oregon who are mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin America. We used snowball sampling in administering the survey. Survey results showed a high rate of job-related injury among the workers who responded to our survey. Results also suggested that many forestry services contractors licensed in Jackson and Josephine counties may not always follow labor laws. The vast majority of workers surveyed reported being fearful of retaliation for reporting injuries. There were no differences in reported working conditions and wage issues between workers with H-2B visas and other workers in the sample. This finding suggests that current US labor and health and safety laws are not effectively protecting Oregon's forest workers, owing to forest workers' structural vulnerability-their low positioning in social structures supported by immigration and economic status-compounded by fear of retaliation. Immigration policies and enforcement practices that contribute to creating a labor system with these inherent vulnerabilities and power imbalances need to be further examined and changed.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Forest workers in southern Oregon, most of whom are Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants, reported workplace practices and conditions suggesting that their employers may not consistently follow labor laws. This was true of workers with H-2B visas as well as other workers in the sample and indicates a need for greater oversight of service contracts on public forestlands. Agency policies should be strengthened so that inspection for labor law compliance becomes routine. To be efficient, these inspections could be combined with regular inspections of performance on the technical specifications of contracts. This may require additional training for agency inspectors. Because intense competition for contracts creates incentives for contractors to cut costs, policies should be put in place to encourage contractors to include the costs of safety training and daily safety briefings in their bid prices and to require consideration of these costs in the evaluation of bids. The fear of retaliation reported by survey respondents mirrors the results of studies of low-wage immigrant workers in other industries and suggests that a number of reforms may be needed to address health, safety, and workers' rights issues. Among these are reforming the H-2B program to allow forest workers holding these visas to participate in the free labor market and otherwise expanding the pool of legally authorized forest workers. Such reforms would give forest workers a more protected employment status that would allow them to report problems and suggest workplace improvements to employers and/or regulatory agencies.

    forest ecology

    Status and Trends of Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus viriginiana) in the Central United States: Analysis and Observations Based on Forest Inventory and Analysis Data

    ABSTRACT  

    Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) (ERC) is a conifer native to North America that historically has been used for a variety of wood products, and its planting has been encouraged to help stabilize soil, reforest abandoned farm land, and provide cover for wildlife. However, ERC has the tendency to expand rapidly and take over certain areas primarily because it is able to grow on a wide variety of soils and is tolerant of salt and harsh climatic conditions. As a result of this invasive-like behavior, ERC composition of central US forestlands has been on the rise over several decades. We analyzed forest resource data collected annually from 1999 to 2012 by the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program at county-, state-, and region-levels in order to evaluate the current status and recent trends of ERC on forestland in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Our results indicate that ERC increased in terms of area, density, and volume across a range of diameter classes. Additionally, ERC seedling abundance increased, and we found a statistically significant relationship between decreasing tree species diversity and ERC basal area proportion. We draw several conclusions from these analyses: 1) the geographic distribution of ERC in central US forestlands is widespread, but varies in density, 2) the area of ERC forestland increased most significantly in Nebraska and Missouri during the early 2000s, 3) the density and volume of ERC are on the rise in the region, and 4) the changes in seedling species abundance and the negative association between diversity and ERC presence suggest the future composition of forests in the region could be altered if the current trends in ERC invasion continue.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Eastern redcedar (ERC) can be beneficial but its rapid expansion, especially into grasslands, has become an issue of ecological concern. Management and control efforts require knowing where and to what extent these increases are occurring. The USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program measures forested plots on an annual basis in all states. Using repeated field measurements, we are able to detect and assess changes in forest resources, which is important for identifying changes in land use or forest health conditions. In this study, we utilized data collected throughout the 2000s to determine the current extent of ERC presence on forestlands and how this has changed over the past decade, including examining tree seedling data to gain insight into future forest composition. The results provide information for developing 1) ERC management goals, such as desired area or density levels or identifying target areas for management actions, and 2) opportunities to utilize the ERC resource that could provide revenue for landowners while mitigating the impacts of the ongoing ERC expansion.

    policy

    Strategies for Incorporating Climate Change into Public Forest Management

    ABSTRACT  

    By analyzing interview and survey data from 1,640 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service employees across three management levels, we assessed their perceptions, actions, concerns, and needs regarding incorporating climate change into managing the National Forests. We found that regional- and forest-level employees tend to think climate change presents new challenges and requires new approaches to address it, whereas on-the-ground managers tend to view it as a buzzword and want more flexibility to continue doing what they do. We found that forest managers have been engaged in conversation and thinking about climate change but few on-the-ground actions. Our study suggests a need for incorporating local staff knowledge into agency decisionmaking, establishing common ground within the agency by promoting climate change initiatives in the context of enhancing forest resilience, providing more scale-relevant data, research, training, and guidance, and developing strategies that enable forest managers to address management challenges that interact with climate change.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Natural resource agency staff at different management levels may conceptualize and approach climate change differently. Understanding how they perceive and address climate change in their work is important for informing future policy development and implementation and climate change-related communication within the agency. Instead of emphasizing how climate change presents new conditions and issues unlike the past, effort is needed to help on-the-ground managers understand how climate change relates to the management challenges concerning them and how they could account for climate change when addressing those challenges. Using widely supported concepts (e.g., forest resilience and ecosystem management) to frame and communicate climate change-related initiatives can help agency staff at different management levels create a shared vision. On-the-ground managers value scale-relevant climate data and applied, site-specific research. In-house scientists could potentially address this need if provided with sufficient incentives and directions. Natural resource agencies will also benefit from using advanced information technologies (e.g., webinars and videoconferences) to help managers obtain new knowledge, exchange information, and learn from and be empowered by their peers. Finally, innovative strategies may be needed to give on-the-ground managers more leeway to use their discretion and more flexibility to carry out large-scale management projects within the context of climate change.

  • practice of forestry
    soils & hydrology

    Soil Matters: Improving Forest Landscape Planning and Management for Diverse Objectives with Soils Information and Expertise

    ABSTRACT  

    Most forest managers would agree that soils are a fundamental resource of forestlands, yet many planning and management decisions continue to be made without a detailed and spatially explicit understanding of this unique and vital resource. We discuss the value of soil data and interpretations in forest planning. We emphasize that soil types differ widely in their inherent capacity to perform various ecological functions as well as in their dynamic response to and recovery from disturbances-concepts that can greatly enhance the quality of forest management decisions. We make a case for applying these concepts by introducing an adaptive management model that targets the use of soil information during forest planning and management. Our goal is to help bridge the gap between soil science and decisionmaking by helping forest managers better understand the value of soil information in project planning. A case study highlights applications and potential benefits.

    MANAGEMENT & POLICY IMPLICATIONS  

    Trends of more generic soils education for foresters and reduced technical staffing in forestry organizations appear to have narrowed or reduced the application of soils knowledge and information in management planning in recent years. However, the careful interpretation and use of soils information, including inherent and dynamic properties, can significantly improve forest planning and management decisions, especially when there are diverse resource objectives on a large land base. The adaptive management model provides a framework for integrating soil quality concepts into the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of forest projects. This approach helps forest managers recognize the value in using soils information to assure that management objectives are matched to soils that have a high potential for achieving and sustaining those objectives over time. Another benefit is that managers can identify more appropriate and effective project criteria to apply as management activities are implemented, which can avoid overly restrictive criteria that unnecessarily limit operation timing or location, or result in costly mitigations. Although available soils expertise remains a concern, these soil quality and adaptive management concepts provide a foundation that could support effective staff training and certification in forest soils for improved project planning and implementation.

  • picture the past
  • books

    Black Hills Forestry: A History

  • departments


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