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The Role of the US Forest Service Amidst Change: A Framework for Effective Ecosystem Management in the Face of Climate Change

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Author: Miller, Aubrey David
Advisor: Roberts, J. Timmons
Committee Members: Sewall, Brent; Rahman, Katherine I.
Issued Date: 2009-05-08
Subjects: Climate change
United States Forest Service
Resource management
Adaptive management
Collaboration
Ecosystem functions
Ecosystem services
Stakeholder engagement
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/1180
Description: Current climate change poses a multitude of complex threats to the health of ecosystems throughout the United States. The US Forest Service has a responsibility to manage ecosystems to retain primary functions and provide vital services. In a time of rapid environmental change, the US Forest Service must take measures to effectively manage ecosystems, which will require revisions to current management structures. This paper (1) explores the threats to National Forest ecosystems posed by climate change; (2) outlines why current institutional management structures will not be adequate for effective resource management; (3) introduces tools, broadly adaptive management techniques as well as mechanisms to encourage collaboration and stakeholder engagement, which can be used to revise the current management structure; and (4) utilizes the tools to propose revisions to a National Forest Management Plan. Various case studies are used to highlight constraints on current management structures and to decipher where opportunities for achieving effective resource management can be found. Additionally, the special considerations for designated wilderness areas and climate change are introduced. The paper provides a framework for immediate action and durable policy creation on climate change by US Forest Service managers. The paper is in no way a panacea for effective ecosystem management in the midst of climate change, but rather designed to provide guidance on necessary initial management restructuring.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy


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