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Integrating Fire and Forest Planning: A Review of National Forest Plan Revisions

Author(s): Hailey Graf
Year Published: 2018

The purpose of this thesis is to determine how wildland fire and forest planning are integrated during forest plan revisions. Specifically, three overarching questions are answered: 1) what is the decision-making framework used in fire and forest planning?, 2) how are National Forests planning for wildland fire management?, and 3) what are the challenges and barriers to integrating fire and forest planning?. To answer these questions, three methods were used to iteratively collect and analyze data. A policy and literature review determined the decision-making framework. Based on the policy review, a rubric was developed to systematically evaluate forest plan revisions. Semi-formal interviews were also conducted to provide supplemental information and context to the data derived from the forest plan evaluations.

The decision-making framework to integrate fire and forest planning is highly complex. Forest planning requires a series of decisions and each is influenced by policy and science. In the United States Forest Service (USFS), forest planning is a three-tiered process. It begins with national direction from the National Forest Management Act and its Planning Regulations. The Planning Regulations determine the required content for all development, revision, and amendment of National Forest plans. Forest plans are then implemented through project- or incident-specific decisions. Each subsequent stage in the planning process must be consistent with the previous stages. That is, decisions made on an individual projects or fires must fulfill the intent of the forest plan and the forest plan must fulfill the requirements of the Planning Regulations and National Forest Management Act.

Citation: Graf H. 2018. Integrating Fire and Forest Planning: A Review of National Forest Plan Revisions. University of Montana: MS Thesis in Resource Conservation, 91 p.
Topic(s): Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Dissertation or Thesis
NRFSN number: 18142
Record updated: Sep 25, 2018