Developing Collaborative Management Institutions Across Two Idaho Multicultural and Urbanizing Landscapes
The Rocky Mountain Research Station strategic plan notes that a growing and shifting demographic, exurban sprawl, and reduced rural resource-based economies result in ecosystem challenges, social conflict, and increased fire risk. The sprawling pattern of development outside of cities typifies a newer urbanization trend referred to as amenity-driven development has been documented in the Rocky mountain west to consume up to 15 times the land area as traditional suburban growth. Shifting populations and exurban sprawl not only affect ecosystems by fragmenting the landscape, but also often conflicting and shifting aesthetic, cultural, and economic values that people expect from the forests (USFS, 2008). What types of institutions successfully bridge this fragmented land-use management system and the associated cultural conflicts across wilderness,
rural communities, and urbanizing corridors Implementing recent USFS planning rules for increased public dialogue requires an understanding of the social, political, and jurisdictional context in order to design such a process, select participants, address power and cultural differences, and to partner with other entities to make sure their plans are consistent with federal plans. This research addresses: 1) what cultural-landscape values affect local government land use decisions and demands on national forests; 2) how do overlapping or conflicting management authorities affect land use decisions and development patterns on the forest edge, and 3) under what circumstances do different participatory processes or collaborative institutions overcome fragmented governance and cultural value conflicts The three-year project addresses McIntire-Stennis strategic priorities including: 1) to
develop projects focused on public values, attitudes, and behaviors including the multicultural dimensions of resource and environmental management; 2) to develop and assess collaborative learning and assess the effectiveness of conflict resolution techniques for effective engagement of the public in stewardship choices for states, regions, and nations; and 3) to develop effective decision tools aimed at reducing divisiveness associated with land-use plans and diverging stakeholder interests (USFS, 2007, pp: 10-12). Three types of products will result from this research: 1) academic and co-authored articles will be submitted to Society and Natural Resources, Human Ecology, Human Organization, and forest policy journals after presentations at the Society for Applied Anthropology and other professional organizations; 2) policy guidelines and best practice manuals and instructional
materials on building collaborative institutions with local, state and tribal agencies; and 3) invited talks and training sessions with the Forestry Extension faculty and participating personnel. The principal investigator also seeks support from the National Science Foundation Law and Social Science program, the Udall Foundation and other sources for continued work in related climate change and resilient community work across disciplines and agencies.