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"People, Forests, and Change" considers nature of forests in flux

Photo: Book cover features overview of lush forest. In the background are a winding river and a distant mountain range. Inset text of book title and editors.
Cover of "People, Forests and Change: Lessons from the Pacific Northwest," edited by Deanna H. Olson and Beatrice Van Horne.

“People, Forests, and Change,” edited by Pacific Northwest Research Station scientists Deanna H. Olson and Beatrice Van Horne has been published by Island Press. Olson and Van Horne assembled an expert panel of social and forest scientists to consider the nature of forests in flux and how to best balance the needs of forests and the rural communities closely tied to them.

The text is divided into four parts: background on Pacific Northwest moist coniferous forests and people reliant on them, dynamic forest and associated social systems, new science and the future of coniferous forests under different scenarios. In the moist coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest, the sustainability of human communities and forest resources are intimately intertwined. Maintaining both biodiverse forest ecosystems and thriving forest-based human communities is challenging.

Key topics in “People, Forests, and Change”

  • Moist forests provide highly valued ecosystem services including native species, clean water, and a variety of wood products.
  • We continue to learn about forest resources, as well as their heterogeneity and management. Learning-based adaptive approaches are needed to improve management for sustainability goals.
  • With all people, all species and all stressors in mind, managing for sustainability could restructure forest management using an all-lands (city, county, state, federal, private) integrated approach.
  • Multi-stakeholder collaborative-group forest governance shows promise for managing multiple resources across land ownerships at large spatial scales, but trust among partners is complex and will need to be addressed to ensure success.

“People, Forests, and Change” brings together ideas grounded in science for policy makers, forest and natural resource managers, students and ecologists who wish to understand how to manage forests to assure their long-term viability and that of human communities who depend on them. The information in this book is applicable to the management of nature–human ecosystems well beyond the Pacific Northwest.