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 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 by litigation.

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