Court takes an interest in habitat connectivity – so should the Forest Service

Connectivity is a new buzzword in the 2012 Planning Rule. It is part of the requirement for ecological integrity, but the Forest Service seems reluctant to fully embrace it in its early revision efforts under the new rule. On June 25th, the Arizona District Court invalidated a Forest Service grazing permit on the Coconino National …

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Forests for whom and for what?

With apologies to Marion Clawson (the year before NFMA), but we’re still asking that question. Secure Rural Schools meets forest planning on the Mark Twain.  This is a real example of the reasons why Congress has tried to break the connection between commercial use of national forests and revenues to local governments. The commission would like …

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Francis Marion revised plan

One of the first of the new century (that started in 2012) of forest plans: “A summary of the proposed changes for the revised Francis Marion Land and Resources Management Plan.” I just rediscovered this in the ‘drafts’ file.  I think I was intending to share this as a concise example of how the Forest Service …

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Planning for fire

A pretty good layman’s overview of the issues in “the war against wildfire.” I’m interested how planning can help, including for both regulation and restoration.  On the latter, this comment on the Nature Conservancy suggests a realistic approach:   “the Nature Conservancy and its partners are looking at a lot of different factors that will …

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Desired Future: Whose Desire? What Future? Why?

The idea of a “desired future” is found frequently in Forest Service NFMA and NEPA discussions/writing. I decided to see if I could find out where the idea of “desired future” and “desired future condition” come from. It sort of shows up in the 1979 NFMA Rule, mainly w/r/t wildlife populations, but gains a major …

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From Forest Planning to Adaptive Governance

“If planning is everything, maybe it’s nothing.” Aaron Wildavsky [Author’s note: This is a lengthy (for a blog), partisan, historical view rant on the road from NFMA “forest planning” to “adaptive governance.”] Let’s face it, the “forest land and resource management plan” is an anachronism—an artifact of a bygone era. That era was in its …

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What is forest planning?

I’m trying to work up yet-another forest planning post tracing the evolution of Forest Service decision-making from the rational planning era to the adaptive governance era. So I decided to solicit opinion in advance. What do you think forest-level planning is? Here are some possibilities. Feel free to add more, and I’ll update this post. …

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Standards in Planning

The question of standards in forest planning has emerged as a central issue in the proposed NFMA regulations.  It seems that a common narrative by the press in covering the story thus far is the amount of discretion afforded in the proposed rule versus its lack of “musts and shalls.” Here is the definition of …

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Planning Rules, Manuals and Handbooks – a flashback

Here is a post from a short-lived blog I ran in 2005, Forest Planning Directives, about Forest Service planning Manual/Handbook rewriting. I think it may shed light on our planning rule critique as well. And it can serve as a guidepost, for the inevitable Manual/Handbook rewriting that will ensue just after the Draft Planning Rule …

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Is A New Rule Worth It?

I went back and looked at the 2009 Notice of Intent today to refresh my memory regarding why implementing a new rule is so important to the Forest Service. From the NOI: Developing a new rule will allow the Agency to integrate forest restoration, watershed protection, climate resilience, wildlife conservation, the need to support vibrant …

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