The Process of Making National Forest Management Decisions
The controversy surrounding timber harvesting and oil and gas exploration and development on public lands is partly a function of the physical process by which they occur and partly a function of the administrative process by which decisions are made in managing the national forests. As this Chapter describes, the Forest Service decision-making process is highly systematic, rational, and scientific. In fact, in some respects it provides a model that many agencies might do well to emulate. In order to understand why Forest Service decisions generate so much and so persistent a conflict, it is critical to understand not only what is at stake in these decisions, but also to understand the dynamics of the administrative decision-making process itself: who is involved and when, how problems are defined, how alternatives are developed and evaluated, and how final decisions are reached. The objective of this chapter is to probe these questions by sketching the decision-making process followed in managing timber and fuels resources, and in comprehensive forest planning. This Chapter presents the decision-making process in theory; the following Chapters illustrate it in practice, with an eye towards where and why the two differ and how reform might be achieved.
KeywordsNational Forest Timber Harvesting Exploratory Drilling Timber Sale Seismic Testing
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