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Forest Service Interdisciplinary Teams: Size, Composition, and Leader Characteristics

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Interdisciplinary (ID) teams were created by the US Forest Service in response to environmental legislation. In 2008, we surveyed ID team leaders for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis of 106 recreation-related projects conducted between 2005 and 2008. Results were compared with current workforce data and previous studies of ID team leadership and composition for NEPA assessments. ID teams were large in size and diverse in composition, with representatives of a broad range of disciplines and functional areas. The composition of ID teams may be changing from traditional natural resource management to more discipline-specific expertise. The role of social scientists and other human dimension specialists remains modest, despite the importance of social science questions inherent in recreation projects. Results reflect changes in agency hiring practices in the last 20 years and raise questions about the interdisciplinary nature of US Forest Service ID teams.
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Keywords: National Environmental Policy Act; US Forest Service; interdisciplinary teams; recreation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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    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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