Utah’s Sagebrush Rebellion Awakens

In September Char Miller didn’t give much credit to what he called Rob Bishop’s “Sputtering Sagebrush Rebellion“, [KCET's "The Back Forty", 09/21/2011]. Miller suggested that the rebellion might backfire in two ways, first by challenging President Obama to follow Bill Clinton’s lead by either invoking the Antiquities Act to establish yet-another national monument at the …

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Illegal ‘Adventure Pass': What were they thinking?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court’s ruling, declaring that the Forest Service’s Adventure Pass violated the Recreation Enhancement Act (pdf). What I wonder is how the Forest Service thought that the Adventure Pass could pass a ‘red face test’ both in public and in the courts? Moreover, how did their …

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Parsing Economic Sustainability: 2012 NFMA Rule

To make sense of economic sustainability we have to delve into sustainability. Then we can see what sense is (or is not) made of ‘economic sustainability’ in the 2012 proposed NFMA rule (pdf). Sustainability At root, what we call sustainability (Wikipedia link) is a vision quest—a movement to better align human action with Nature and …

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Opportunity (and Context) Lost: 2012 NFMA Planning Rule

The long-awaited NFMA “proposed planning rule” is out. It looks pretty much like the Draft rule to me. I have longed to see the Forest Service embrace adaptive management for public lands, or adaptive governance, as I argued here last year in Fixing the Rule: An Adaptive Governance Roadmap. But much like in the Draft, …

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Forest Service Mindshift: From Regulators to Partners

The Forest Service seems to love the idea of partnerships, but questions remain as to how this happened, and where it will end. I’m not talking about government-to-government collaboration here, but so-called “partnerships” in other arenas. The notion is particularly contentious when partners are “for profit” corporations. In the early 1900s, the Forest Service would …

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Forestry’s Next One Hundred Years: Leopold

Gifford Pinchot’s utilitarian philosophy and management methods dominated US Forest Service thought, policy, and action throughout the 20th century. A quick read of Harold Steen’s The US Forest Service: A History, David Clary’s Timber and the Forest Service, and Paul Hirt’s A Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the National Forests Since World War Two is …

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Oregon O&C Lands In Play, Again

Anyone remember the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000? The Act, along with follow-up legislation was supposed to wean rural Oregon Counties from long-standing dependence on timber revenues from O&C and other Federal Lands and put them on a path to “self-determination.” Guess what? It didn’t. In fact by funding the counties …

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On Corruption, Agency Capture and Forest Service Experience

In comments on a recent post I noted that “corruption and bias are always in play” when dealing with high-level politics. Over at the Kaufmann Governance Post, Daniel Kaufmann has taken up a crusade to daylight and castigate what he calls “corruption,” moving it beyond more traditionally narrow framing as bribes, kickbacks, direct money payoffs, …

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Three Pathways to Adaptive Governance

Adaptive governance—an adaptive management approach to public lands management—is well underway, and will replace planning, the Forest Service’s chosen management strategy for the 20th century. This may be seen as a bold assertion. But the ideas and actions embedded in adaptive governance have been emerging for quite some time as more and more people realize …

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Toddi Steelman on Science and Politics

  At a recent TED lecture at North Carolina State University, Professor Toddi Steeman talked about three science myths: “Science Determines Policy,” “Science is Objective,” and “More Science Leads to Consensus.” Steelman titled the talk, “My Jihad Against Scientific Fundamentalism.” Beginning about 7:50 into the presentation Steelman talks about so-called “Climategate,” as one of two …

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