Emily Platt - Institutional resilience of the US Forest Service
This research is part of the Forests People Fire (FPF) coupled natural-human systems project. FPF is building an agent-based model to explore how social and ecological systems interact to shape fire-prone landscapes over time. The FPF project area includes forested areas in central and south-central Oregon. Roughly 50% of the area is managed by the Forest Service. The Forest Service is working to restore fire-prone forests within the project area. A range of issues from local social dynamics to congressional politics influence the Forest Service’s ability to address restoration needs and challenges, and these influences are constantly shifting and changing. The study area’s fire prone landscape adds an element of rapid ecological change. This research considers the Forest Service’s ability to adapt to these constantly changing conditions. The Forest Service’s institutional resilience is assessed by considering both its ability to adapt to changing social and ecological conditions as well as its ability to meet goals and objectives outlined in the Forest Service’s strategic plan, the national fire plan, the 2012 planning rule, and management plans for the Deschutes and Fremont-Winema National Forests. Qualitative analysis of interview data is paired with ecological modeling to explore obstacles to restoration of federal lands and landscape outcomes of select management strategies. Findings to date reveal significant opportunities for improving the institutional resilience of the US Forest Service.