Making Management More Adaptive Through Research in El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest in Río Grande, Puerto Rico, embarked on a comprehensive revision of its land management plan in 2013 upon selection as an early adopter of the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule (36 CFR 219). This revised rule specifies a process of adaptive management that is inclusive, collaborative, efficient, and science-based for the nation’s forests and grasslands. Throughout this process, researchers with the International Institute of Tropical Forestry have worked closely with El Yunque management and in collaboration with local communities and key stakeholders. Institute researchers provide scientific support in the assessment of conditions and trends in and around the forest, documenting and determining the need for change in management actions and direction, identifying desired future conditions for the forest and surrounding communities, and developing proposed plan components and alternatives. Key scientific contributions included the synthesis of relevant results from long-term monitoring and research in and around the forest and development of new research on the human dynamics within the region–critical for a better understanding of the forest as a complex social-ecological system. In September 2016, El Yunque National Forest released its draft forest plan and environmental impact statement for public review and expects to have a new plan in place by spring 2017.
Forest Service Partners