You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Human Ecology Mapping Reveals Public Priorities for Forest Destinations and Roads

Photo of At a community meeting in Issaquah, Washington, particpants discuss maps created by the public and their role in travel management planning. Lee Cerveny, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.At a community meeting in Issaquah, Washington, particpants discuss maps created by the public and their role in travel management planning. Lee Cerveny, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Public land managers often must prioritize among ongoing construction and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities valued by the public. Human ecology mapping is a way to identify and display the diversity of social, cultural, and economic connections among people and the land. The approach is helping national forests connect with the public and systematically gather and analyze information about public values, uses, and interactions.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Cerveny, Lee K. 
Research Location : Washington, Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1045

Summary

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest sought assistance from social scientists in developing a public engagement process that utilized a systematic, socio-spatial approach for gathering information about public values, uses, and interactions that would inform the process of sustainable roads planning under the 2005 Travel Management Rule. The project goal was to develop a protocol that resulted in socio-spatial data that could be integrated with other geo-spatial data for use in travel management planning. A scientist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and her colleagues collaborated closely with the national forest and a network of 42 partners known as the Sustainable Roads Cadre to develop a multi-faceted public engagement protocol that (1) was systematic and data driven; (2) encouraged opportunities for both local and non-local stakeholder participation; (3) built in exercise to promote dialogue and deliberation; and (4) captured public values on maps for integration with biophysical data. More than 1,800 people participated through eight public workshops and an online survey. The scientists used a human ecology mapping approach where participants used maps to identify forest destinations and roads that were important for recreation, livelihood, cultural connections, food and resource gathering, and other reasons. The project resulted in (1) a spatial database with technical documentation for the planning team; (2) a full-length report that described the data gathering process and featured an atlas of maps displaying locations and roads of high use and activities associated with these locations; and (3) decision-frameworks that prioritized roads based on high volume and activity diversity. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie inter-disciplinary planning team used these product when developing its 2016 Sustainable Roads Strategy Report. The human ecology mapping approach also is currently being used in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests in Oregon for pre-scoping in preparation for forest planning.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Portland State University