Title: Evaluation of the use of scientific information in developing the 1997 Forest plan for the Tongass National Forest.
Author: Everest, Fred H.; Swanston, Douglas N.; Shaw, Charles G.; Smith, Winston P.; Julin, Kent R.; Allen, Stewart D.
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-415. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 69 p. (Shaw, Charles G., III, tech. coord.; Conservation and resource assessments for the Tongass land management plan revision).
Description: The Tongass National Forest is the largest remaining relatively unaltered coastal temperate rain forest in the world. The Forest consists of 16.9 million acres of land distributed across more that 22,000 islands and a narrow strip of mainland in southeast Alaska. The Forest contains abundant timber, wildlife, fisheries, mineral, and scenic resources. The authors participated as scientists on the Tongass Land Management Planning Team from 1995 to 1997. We joined the planning team as full members but maintained separate and distinct roles from National Forest System members. We were asked to assure that credible, value-neutral, scientific information was developed independently without reference to management decisions. We also displayed the likely levels of risk to resources and society associated with various management options. We examined how scientific information was used in making management decisions and evaluated whether the decisions were consistent with the available information. We developed and used a set of criteria to evaluate the way in which managers used scientific information in formulating decisions. This evaluation began while the final alternative was in the formative stages so that managers could alter their management approach, if they so desired, before the Forest plan was finalized. Many management decisions were altered during this "adaptive decisionmaking process" in which changes were made concurrent with iterations of this paper. Our conclusion was that the final management decisions made in developing the 1997 Forest plan achieved a high degree of consistency with the available scientific information. This paper does not consider any information gathered after the signing of the record of decision on May 23, 1997, or deal with subsequent implementation of the 1997 Tongass Forest plan.
Keywords: Tongass National Forest, forest management, land management planning, science evaluation, science policy
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Everest, Fred H.; Swanston, Douglas N.; Shaw, Charles G., III; Smith, Winston P.; Julin, Kent R.; Allen, Stewart D. 1997. Evaluation of the use of scientific information in developing the 1997 Forest plan for the Tongass National Forest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-415. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 69 p. (Shaw, Charles G., III, tech. coord.; Conservation and resource assessments for the Tongass land management plan revision).
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