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US Forest Service Experimental Forests and Ranges: An Untapped Resource for Social Science

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For a century, US Forest Service experimental forests and ranges (EFRs) have been a resource for scientists conducting long-term research relating to forestry and range management. Social science research has been limited, despite the history of occupation and current use of these sites for activities ranging from resource extraction and recreation to public education. This article encourages researchers to take advantage of the rich, though largely untapped, potential EFRs offer for social science by describing their many human dimensions and providing an overview of potential research topics. These topics include human uses, economics, historical studies, population and land-use change, human values, and interdisciplinary social‐ecological studies. Lack of awareness among social scientists, limited budgets and networking, and the predominance of biophysical scientists who administer and conduct research at EFRs appear to be inhibiting the development of social science research there. We suggest ways of overcoming these barriers.

Keywords: US Forest Service; experimental forests and ranges; human uses of public lands; social science research

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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.
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