I smiled when I saw the title of this blog. Another century of forest planning? Another century of gridlock?
I think that Dick Behan said it first, and perhaps best in 1981:
… Idealized, perfect planning that is mandated in law [and Regulation], and constrained only by an agency’s budget, will exhaust that budget. … There will come a time when the Forest Service can do nothing but plan …
RPA/NFMA cannot be made to work. Its flaw is fundamental: it is a law, and it needs to be repealed. We failed, in our collective problem solving, by placing too much faith in planning and placing far too much faith in statute. It is time to punt.
As I suggested in 2007, maybe we ought to use the NFMA rulemaking process to begin the journey of changing to a new approach to planning wherein we use scenario planning (wikipedia link) simply to “rehash the past, and rehearse the future”. And to begin a journey to learn how to practice adaptive management (wikipedia link) as an agency. Note that management is not directly linked to planning. Note that there is no “desired future.” Instead, scenarios simply help guide strategic thinking as part of adaptive management, in part by keeping forest managers’ minds open to an emergent future.
Here is a link to my Adaptive Forest Management blog for more.