Public participation and its relationship to conflict in national forest planning
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Since the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act and the National Forest Management Act, the Forest Service has been required to give individuals and organizations access to the decision-making process. However, the Forest Service has been confronted with a greater than anticipated level of dissatisfaction with the Land Management Plans. Because the appeals of the plans are an expense to the Forest Service, both in monetary terms and the frustration which has been generated, the relationship between the participation process and the number of appeals has. come under question.
This study proposes that, because public participation and the resolution of appeals are expenses to the Forest Service, the relationship between the two should be analyzed in a cost-benefit analysis framework. However, before an optimal level of public participation can be determined, the relationship between public participation and conflict must be analyzed.
Through survey and econometric techniques, the public participation process which occurred during round one of planning and the significance of a number of variables to the probability for conflict were observed. The study described the public participation process which occurred on the National Forests. The results suggest a positive relationship between public participation and the number of existing appeals. Further research is needed, however, to determine the number of appeals which were either avoided or generated due to the public participation process.
- Masters Theses