Current Issue

  • DEMOCRATIZING FEDERAL FOREST MANAGEMENT THROUGH PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND COLLABORATION

    Diane Vosick

    Public participation and collaboration in federal forest management has evolved over the last century. Currently, the federal land management agencies are encouraged through statutes and regulations meaningfully collaborate with the public during project development and implementation. The hope is that through greater public engagement, the management gridlock that has impeded forest restoration and thinning since the 1990s will be reduced. It is also assumed that as a result of collaboration, environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will be improved leading to better natural resource management decisions. The Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), a collaborative effort to ...

  • FRIEDRICH A. HAYEK, THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, AND INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN

    Steven Gow Calabresi

    In their article, Against Design, Caryn Devins, Roger Koppl, Stuart Kauffman, and Teppo Felin argue that it is impossible for any lawmaker to successfully design a Constitution or a law so that it will produce the ends that the legislator wishes to enact. The authors argue that institutional design is impossible because every such design in law sets in motion a Spontaneous System of Order, which then develops the law or institution in ways the Framers of such laws and institutions could never have imagined. This is the case because changing circumstances and unforeseeable inventions and developments render ...

  • RESTORING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF FREQUENT-FIRE FORESTS OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WEST

    W. Wallace Covington & Diane Vosick

    The ecological, social, and economic sustainability of the Rocky Mountain West is threatened by declining forest health that is manifested by unnaturally high tree densities and fuel loads, increases in invasive exotic plants, decreasing biological diversity (plants and animals), and increased insect and disease outbreaks. These unnatural fuel loads lead to wildfires that have become unprecedented in their severity, acreage, and effects. In this paper we discuss the causes of forest health decline and advocate for ecological restoration as an approach for restoring forest health. We also summarize recent policy changes with the stated purpose ...

  • FIREWISE: The Value of Voluntary Action and Standard Approaches to Reducing Wildfire Risk

    Faith Berry, Lucian Deaton & Michele Steinberg

    Regionally, nationally and globally, threats to life, property and resources from wildfire are growing. Changing climate conditions, growth of vulnerable communities into high-hazard areas, and limited governmental and financial resources available to cope with this threat all mean that wildfire losses are expected to continue and expand. It is not possible to find a single and simple solution to all of the problems that the scenario of larger, damaging wildfire presents. However, when focusing on how to prevent wildland/urban interface (WUI) fire disasters—the destruction of dozens or hundreds of structures during significant wildfire events—researchers ...

  • HOW FOREST TREATMENT SAVED THE BRAY CREEK RANCH

    Michael A. Johns

    Bray Creek Ranch is an old homestead along the Highline National Recreation Trail, which is a part of the Arizona Trail, at the base of the Mogollon Rim about twelve miles north of Payson, Arizona between Boy Scout Camp Geronimo and Girl Scout Camp Shadow Rim. The ranch is surrounded by National Forest in the Ponderosa Pine type at about 6,000 feet elevation.

    I started my Federal career in 1969 on the Payson Ranger District Helitack Team. In 1972 we formed the District’s first Hotshot crew and I was asked to be its first foreman. In 1973 I clerked ...

  • ON THE INEVITABILITY OF “CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN”

    Sanford Levinson

    I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to offer some brief comments on the fascinating essay Against Design. It is a long and rich piece raising many questions, and I emphasize that this comment is both brief and therefore necessarily insufficient as anything approaching a complete response. But I obviously hope that even these truncated remarks will help further an important conversation prompted by the four authors.

  • DESIGN IS THE SOURCE OF VARIATION; SELECTION IS THE FILTER

    Vernon Smith

    Against Design concerns the impossibility of deliberate design for desirable outcomes when the dynamic processes of social and economic change are decentralized, free and creative. In this brief commentary I want to relate the authors’ theme to specialization, innovation, and morality in economy.

  • WILDFIRE LIABILITY AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: A Double-Edged Sword

    Charles H. Oldham

    Wildland-Urban Interface (“WUI”) represents a growing phenomenon where urban population areas are encroaching upon America’s wildlands, which are defined as natural environments on Earth that have not been significantly modified by civilized human activity. In 2008, there were approximately 115 million single-family homes in the U.S., and roughly 40% of those homes were located in a WUI area. Americans built approximately 17 million new homes between 1990 and 2008, and 10 million of those homes were built in or around a WUI area. As a natural consequence of the growing WUI, the number of structures destroyed by wildfire ...

  • STILL AGAINST DESIGN: A Response to Steven Calabresi, Sanford Levinson, and Vernon Smith

    Caryn Devins, Roger Koppl, Stuart Kauffman & Teppo Felin

    Our argument in Against Design may seem new, challenging, or even bizarre. One commenter, Levinson, questions whether we really mean what we say: “I presume that the authors cannot really be arguing that all design is impossible.” Given our admittedly unorthodox and perhaps radical challenge to common notions of design, we appreciate the thoughtful attention to our views given by our commenters Vernon Smith, Sanford Levinson and Steven G. Calabresi. Even when disagreeing with us, they have responded to Against Design with open minds.

  • THE ROLE OF ARIZONA STATE FORESTRY AND FIRE MANAGEMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY

    Jeff Whitney

    Modern forestry, our national forests, and the U.S. Forest Service were created in the early 1900s as a means to conserve the nation’s natural resources. Reactions to disasters and misunderstandings of forest systems resulted in flawed management practices that persisted throughout the 20th century resulting in critically unhealthy forests across the Western United States. Unhealthy forests threaten watersheds, are prone to disease, insect infestation, and catastrophic wildfire. Arizona State Forestry (AZSF) is part of the solution to these issues. AZSF and our partners have the ability to engage the public and private sector to implement a Cohesive Wildland Fire ...

  • NEW MODELS FOR FUNDING PUBLIC LANDS MANAGEMENT: A Case Study of the Northern Arizona Forest Fund

    Rebecca Davidson, Spencer Plumb & Marcus Selg

    At the end of the twentieth century, scholars divided public land policy within the United States into three periods: disposition, reservation, and management. As we enter the twenty-first century, our public lands are declining in health and, from a financial standpoint, are less an asset and more a liability. To address the issues facing public lands management, the federal government is now more dependent on public-private partnerships as well as private investment in the health of our public lands. Begging the question— are we entering a new period for public land policy following the ...

  • THE RESILIENCE DILEMMA: Incorporating Global Change into Ecosystem Policy and Management

    Donald A. Falk

    The progression of changes to Earth’s climate poses unprecedented challenges to the science and practice of ecosystem management. The viability of many populations, species, and even ecosystems is increasingly uncertain in their current form. Effects of climate change per se are compounded by multiple interacting stressors, including landscape modification and fragmentation, alerted disturbance regimes (particularly wildland fire), and the increasing presence of non-native invasive species. In framing a meaningful response to global environmental change, all of these interacting factors must be taken into account. For example, the ability of species to migrate in response to changing climate geography—as ...

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