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Technical Commentary: Science Management Collaboration: Lessons from the Revision of the Tongass National Forest Plan

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The role of scientists in development of U.S. federal policy on various issues has been debated for decades and is documented in a large body of literature. No consensus on appropriate roles for scientists has yet been reached by either policymakers or the scientists themselves. Consequently, an opportunity remains for those working at the science-policy interface to contribute to resolution of the debate. Recent broad-scale federal land-use planning efforts in the western United States were completed through collaborative partner-ships between managers and scientists. The revision of the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, completed in May 1997, integrated Forest Service managers and scientists into one interdisciplinary planning team. This precedent-setting planning model produced a significant body of policy-relevant literature, a national forest plan that balances competing public desires for natural resources while providing for long-term sustainability of those resources, and planning decisions that are consistent with the best available scientific information. During the process, both scientists and managers faced numerous challenges and learned many lessons about collaborative partnerships. This paper describes critical challenges and lessons so that others undertaking similar efforts can benefit from our experiences. West. J. Appl. For. 13(3):90-96.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2770 Sherwood Lane, Juneau, AK 99801

Publication date: 1998-07-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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