Knowledge empowers people to make changes by enabling them to develop information-based opinions and develop ethical standards by which they will act. Attitudes about natural resource issues are often counter-indicative to established scientific knowledge. By not having access to factual information, people develop opinions and base their actions on information gleaned from the media and other non-scientific sources. Poor natural resource management decisions and policies are often the result, impacting Idaho's rural communities. These decisions and policies have proven detrimental to the health Idaho's forests and rangelands, resulting in widespread insect and disease outbreaks and high catastrophic wildfire risk. Using the Idaho Department of Lands Idaho Forest Action Plan Resource Assessment (2010), developed in partnership University of
Idaho Extension and other partners and stakeholders, critical issues and ecological drivers that influence forest and rangeland management in Idaho have been identified and prioritized. The identified issues which will be the main focus of the RREA program in Idaho for the next five years 2012-2016 are: the high threat of uncharacteristic wildfires in all wildland/interface areas of Idaho as well in identified priority wildland areas; the high to moderately high forest health threats from insects and diseases in identified priority landscape areas; and the relatively high potential for developing sustainable forest-based industries utilizing forest biomass. Objectives.To increase participant knowledge and understanding of forest disturbance ecology, wildland fire and wildland/urban interface issues, and ecosystem dynamics and processe; to increase participant knowledge and skills in
forest management and wildfire mitigation activities as well as economic development of forest-based business related activitie; to widen our delivery method technologies to include non-traditional methods such as social media, iPads, Smartphones, and Kindle readers. Outcomes.Forest owners, managers, natural resource and green industry professionals, and fire and emergency services personnel will be knowledgeable about best management practices that increase the health and safety of their forests and rangelands. Healthy and well managed forests and rangelands will benefit Idaho citizens by providing a safe place to live and recreate, sustainable, economically viable ecosystems, and successful manufacturing enterprises that are compatible with current environmental and social issues, including forest biomass utilization, wildfire mitigation, and improved air and water quality. Decision
makers, as well as the general public, are able to form opinions, make decisions, and formulate policy using the latest scientifically-based information. Audiences will be able to receive information using a wider variety of delivery methods that are more aligned with their individual learning preferences.