Shared Visions, Future Challenges: A Mental Models Study of Three Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Programs

Apr 24, 2015, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Deadline: 

A Graduate Defense Seminar will be presented by Emily G. Hutchins, MS Candidate in Environmental Social Sciences, on Friday, April 24th at 2:00 p.m. in 382 Kottman Hall. Emily will present Shared Visions, Future Challenges: A Mental Models Study of Three Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Programs.

The Forest Service’s $40-million dollar Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) provides grants to National Forests undergoing large-scale forest restoration efforts as part of a collaborative group. While past studies have examined collaborative approaches to manage public land, limited research has considered collaboration in the context of forest restoration efforts. Of particular interest are the different ways restoration stakeholders may conceptualize forest restoration and how these conceptualizations influence restoration goals, implementation of restoration activities, the level of agreement or conflict among participants, and ultimately the amount of treatment that can be
accomplished.

To learn more about these influences we used a mental model approach to identify and compare how decision makers in three CFLRP collaborative groups conceptualize forest restoration. After creating a technical model through a review of relevant literature, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants involved in CFLRPs in Oregon, Washington, and Missouri. This approach allowed us to measure what participants are thinking about in relation to forest restoration, and then compare responses both between sites and to what is described as best practices in the technical model. Our results indicate areas where  restoration efforts may require more focus, as well as explore the strengths and potential limitations of such efforts.