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How, Thanks to a Decision Support System Called “Profiling,” a Forest Manager Saved His Forest But Lost His Job: A Fable

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Efficient and effective forest disease management relies on good research, yet forest managers are sometimes slow at adapting and implementing research discoveries. Meaningful research on management issues relies on an understanding of the difficulties of management, yet research discoveries often are remotely applicable to day-to-day management decisions. This communications gap may constrain the science and application of forest disease management. A fictional case study examines the incongruence between a new-economy manager and an old-economy corporate office when a decision support system called “profiling” is used to solve an ecological problem in an economic context. It illustrates the risks managers take when implementing new technologies–in this case, using information technology in a forest business when a root disease limits timber production. In the story that follows, our narrator is attending a guest lecture.

Keywords: communication; decision science; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; industry; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Research Plant Pathologist Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 240 West Prospect, Fort Collins, CO, 80526-2098,

Publication date: 2003-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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