National Forest Foundation

Semester: 2016 Spring

Students: Melissa Freeman and Benjamin Goldman

Uniting concerned communities, organizations and individuals, the NFF engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, as well as administering private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests

Over the past two decades, small groups of people with differing—and often conflicting—ideas about how to manage National Forests have begun to come to the “collaborative table” to begin the process of healing the divide within communities. Many early efforts to identify zones of agreement and a joint vision for management of the nearby National Forest found success, and soon collaborative discussions began multiplying across the country. The U.S. Forest Service has embraced the concept of deeply engaging with stakeholders rather than just receiving input at a public hearing. But as collaboration gains steam, critics of this approach are becoming more vocal. Multiple environmental organizations have signed a statement that they will not participate in collaborative groups.

The NFF would like to better understand these criticisms and has engaged HNMCP to conduct a thorough exploration of the national debate about the value, approach, and effectiveness of collaborative groups in the stewardship of National Forests & Grasslands in order to inform understanding and practice.

Activities & Deliverables

  • Development of proposed approach and methodology;
  • Stakeholder assessment design, including development of a proposed interview protocol;
  • Interviews with key stakeholders;
  • Identification of key people who may be willing to share experiences or best practices during an interactive webinar or other virtual platform;
  • Recommendations for best practices on addressing collaboration-focused criticisms and conflict
  • Presentation of findings during a national collaborative restoration workshop
  • Presentation of findings during a national webinar hosted by the NFF
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