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Has the Myth of the Omnipotent Forester Become the Reality of the Impotent Forester?

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Almost 40 years ago, Behan's (1966) article (Behan, R.W. 1966. The myth of the omnipotent forester. J. For. 64:398–407) stressed that the role of professional foresters in the United States was not to tell the public how to manage their forests, but to manage according to society's goals. This article considers whether foresters have heeded this advice or neglected it, thereby creating the reality of the impotent forester. Some disturbing trends suggest the latter case may be occurring.

Omnipotent: “Having virtually unlimited authority or influence” Impotent: “Lacking in power strength or vigor: helpless” Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1976)
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Keywords: forestry accreditation; forestry profession; forestry professional ethics; professional licensing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

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

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