US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
You are here: Home / People / Profile


Dale Blahna

Research Social Scientist
400 N. 34th St., Suite 201
United States

Phone: 206-732-7833
Contact Dale Blahna

Current Research

My research examines: (1) urban natural resources stewardship and governance in the Puget Sound area, (2) public and agency perceptions of cultural ecosystem services of the Deschutes National Forest, (3) use of ecosystem services and the forest planning rule in the forest plan revision process, and (4) plannning for sustainable human uses in Prince William Sound. I am also project lead for two PNW Station urban research partnership efforts: the Green Cities Research Alliance and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership for the Green-Duwamish Watershed. These are interdisciplinary efforts that focus on understanding the social and ecological co-benefits of trees and green infrastructure along the urban to wildland gradient in the Pacific Northwest.

Research Interests

My primary research interest is the application of social science data, concepts, and methods to natural resource and environmental planning and decisionmaking. I do this primarily through the study of visitor behavior and recreation management practices and the evaluation of agency land management planning, public involvement, social assessments, policies, and practices.

Past Research

While I was at Utah State University (1991-2006), most of my reserach focused on recreation and the use of social science in planning for the Forest Service, BLM, National Park Service, and Utah State Parks. Some sample projects include: (1) Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument study of visitor uses, characteristics, and community expenditures, (2) Utah Rivers Study: visitor use, crowding, and preferences on eight whitewater rivers, (3) framework for estimating community-resource use linkages for National Forests in Utah, (4) Korean and Japanese visitors on the San Bernardino National Forest: Collection of nontimber forest products and their motivations and management preferences, (5) forest recreation participation and use barriers of urban ethnic minorities in Chicago, and (6) use of public involvement methods and data in national forest planning. After joining the Forest Service (2007), I worked on studies of the motivations and benefits of citizen based environmental stewardship activities and a national study of the use of recreation and other social science information in NEPA project analyses. I also led teams invovled in applying forest inventory (iTree-Eco) and health assessment tools (Forest Landscape Assessment Tool) in the Seattle area, and helped fund projects to understand urban foraging behavior in Seattle and Portland.

Why This Research is Important

Ecosystem management and sustainability requires blending data and methods from social, economic, and ecological sciences. Yet land management agencies focus much more heavily on biological and physical sciences than on important social and economic factors. This can lead to poor decisions (socially and ecologically), unnecessary levels of social conflict, and significant political fallout. My research applies concepts and methods of social science to better understand public values and uses of natural resources and evaluates processes and frameworks for integrating social, ecological, and economic factors in planning and decisionmaking.


  • University of Michigan, Ph.D. Natural Resources 1985
  • University of Wisconsin-Steven Point, M.S. Natural Resources 1979
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, B.A. Biological Aspects of Conservation 1976

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Washington's Green-Duwamish Watershed joins Urban Waters Federal Partnership

The Green-Duwamish Urban Waters Federal Partnership focuses on salmon recovery and environmental justice initiatives, with the added goal of cr ...


Last updated on : 11/30/2016