On the Inevitability of “Constitutional Design”

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
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. Full Article
Read More

Wildfire Liability and the Federal Government: A Double-Edged Sword

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
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 per year has almost tripled since the 1990s. Moreover, “[b]etween 1990 and 2013, wildfires claimed an average of 18 lives per year, but in 2013 the death toll spiked…
Read More

Resistence, Restoration, Resilience: A Survey of Fire’s American Century

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
Stephen J. Pyne America’s modern fire era began with two parallel processes. One was industrialization, which sought to replace open fire with internal combustion but also rewired humanity’s power and redefined Americans’ relationship to their natural surroundings. This transitional phase is typically one of unsettled fire regimes and widespread, even abusive, burning. The other process was the surge of settlement that swept over post-Civil War America. A map of forest fires for the 1880 census shows the outcome. America in the 1880s was much like Brazil in the 1980s—an agricultural society, rapidly industrializing and remaking its national estate. Fires—both good and bad— were everywhere. America’s first professional forester, the Prussian-trained Bernhard Fernow, dismissed the scene as one “of bad habits and loose morals.” The wreckage was widespread and visible. Occasionally,…
Read More

Technology and Trees: Increasing Trust and Efficiencies in Forest Restoration

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
Suzanne Sitko, Travis Woolley & Neil Chapman The Nature Conservancy (“Conservancy”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity across the world.1 Recognizing the multiple values of our forested ecosystems is an organizational priority. In Arizona, the Conservancy collaborates with multiple partners and the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) to support meaningful efforts to restore forests in a manner that is ecologically appropriate2 and economically viable. Full Article
Read More

Will AZ Learn or Burn? Can AZ Learn to Burn?: The Flagstaff Experience

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
Paul Summerfelt Wildfires engender fear and respect, and often burn at great social cost. They can consume much more than acres burned. But the right kind of wildfire is also a necessary component of a healthy forest ecosystem, the very ponderosa pine forests which blanket much of the northern part of our state. How do we reconcile this dichotomy—the good and the bad of wildfire? Fire is no respecter of jurisdictional boundaries or fence-lines. It readily crosses one-to-the-other: it is relentless, persistent, and powerful. Fire is our problem, and our opportunity. The City of Flagstaff provides a model for how local government can engage in and be successful in this challenging environment. Full Article
Read More

Design is the Source of Variation; Selection is the Filter

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
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. Human ingenuity and know-how are continually at work causing change and adaptation as people experience how things are and apply their distributed skills and imagination to finding better ways in business and technology. In markets, designs for change are a consequence of this propensity for innovation. The spectacular cases are well-known: James Watt, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and in our day, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are distinct examples. At ground level this progress is also manifested continuously in “learning by doing” in which workers…
Read More

Democratizing Federal Forest Management Through Public Participation and Collaboration

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
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 restore 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest across four national forests in northern Arizona, create agreements that help avoid delays caused by litigation to actively and is an example of how collaboration can lower conflict and create agreements that help avoid delays caused…
Read More

The Role of Arizona State Forestry and Fire Management in the 21st Century

2016, Past Issues, Print, Volume 48 (2016) Issue 1 (Spring)
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 Strategy to achieve resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities, and safe and effective wildfire responses. Full Article
Read More