US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Cerveny Lee

Lee K. Cerveny

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

Phone: 206-732-7832
Contact Lee K. Cerveny

Current Research

Homelessness and Non-recreational Camping on National Forests and Grasslands. A survey of law enforcement officers in 2015 revealed interesting patterns in residential use of national forests and grasslands. Long-term encampments have implications for the biophysical environment as well as the social environment. Cleaning up sites after extended use requires significant resources. Research Partners: Oregon State University; San Jose State University.

Forest Collaboratives as Enduring Forms of Resource Governance. Over the past 20 years, there has been a proliferation of community-based collaborative groups throughout the western US. Federal, tribal, state, and local agencies as well as non-governmental organizations are forming collaboratives to address resource needs at multiple scales. Two studies are underway to explore the structure and function of forest collaboratives. One study examines forest collaboratives in Oregon, Washington and Idaho to understand the relationship between formal governance mechanisms and collaborative success. A second study examines social networks and community capacity in forest collaboratives in the Blue Mountains region of Oregon. Research Partners: Oregon State University Extension; Portland State University.

Human Ecology Mapping. This body of work explores how socio-spatial tools can be developed to collect information about human values, land uses, and forest benefits for use in forest planning. We began this work on the Olympic National Forest in Washington with a participatory mapping project to understand human-forest interactions on the landscape scale. We also helped the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest develop a protocol for collecting public use data on priority forest roads and destinations. A current project focuses on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests where we are developing a tool for gathering public information about special forest places. Research Partner: Portland State University, Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Residential Location Decisions at the Urban-Wildland Interface. This project focuses on understanding the role of nature and public lands in shaping the values and residential choices of residents at the outer ring of King County (Seattle). Specifically, we seek to understand the factors that influence people to live in and move to suburban and exurban communities, the role of nature and public lands in their daily decisions, and the diversity of environmental values, attitudes, and behaviors held by suburban and exurban residents. Research Partner: Oregon State University.

Science, Planning and Decision-making in the Forest Service. Several studies have explored aspects of natural resource planning and decision-making. One study examined the role of values in resource planning and decision-making for riparian recreation. Another study investigated the interactions between scientists and managers and the role of scientific information in recreation decision-making. A third study explored implementation of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the use of scientific tools and interdisciplinary teams for NEPA projects in recreation and travel management. Two current studies investigate the role of social science information in forest planning. Research Partners: University of Washington; Virginia Tech University; Portland State University.

Research Interests

Natural resource governance, recreation and human use planning for public land management agencies, the public health benefits of public lands

Past Research

Tourism and Community Change. Tourism is an industry that often sprouts in rural regions rich in natural and cultural resources. Tourism provides seasonal employment and also has the capacity to alter resident relationships with their communities and the environment. In 2000-2004, I conducted research on tourism in Southeast Alaska which is host to cruise ships, charter fishing guests, and adventure travelers. This resulted in several published technical reports, manuscripts, and a book, Nature and Tourists in the Last Frontier (2008). Tourism remains a research interest, although no current studies are underway.

Forest Service Partnerships. This research on Forest Service partnerships was developed in consultation with the National Partnership Office, Washington, DC. This multi-phased study seeks to identify the types of partners working with the US Forest Service, the diversity of work in which partners are engaged, the structure and function of partnerships, motivations to partner, and the benefits and challenges associated with partnerships. The study is currently in its third phase, a national survey of 13 national forests. Research Partner: North Carolina State University.


  • Syracuse University, Ph.D. Anthropology 2004
  • Northern Arizona University, M.A. Anthropology 1993
  • Dartmouth College, B.A. History 1987

Awards & Recognition

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE), 2010
    Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Science and Technology

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Access to partners and volunteers linked to sociopolitical setting of national forest

A national survey of Forest Service officials illuminates challenges and opportunities for partnering that varied based on setting. The sociopo ...


Communities, economies, and the Northwest Forest Plan: 24 years later

Social and economic conditions in rural communities have changed since the Northwest Forest Plan was enacted in 1994. A synthesis of research ex ...


Diverse Connections and Barriers to Outdoor Inclusion: Learning from Latinx Recreation Users

Today’s land managers need current information about user preferences and desired setting features. In addition to learning about setting and ...


Diversity and Inclusion in the Wildland Fire Workforce: A Forest Service Case Study

Women and people of color in the wildland fire workforce face unique challenges. These findings from a USDA Forest Service case study can be use ...


Human Ecology Mapping Reveals Public Priorities for Forest Destinations and Roads

Public land managers often must prioritize among ongoing construction and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities valued by the public. Hum ...


Interactive Mapping Project Advances All Lands Conservation

Mapping human connections both on and off the forest helps land managers better anticipate how changes to access in other jurisdictions may affe ...


Interactive mapping process highlights values and visitor use in Browns Canyon National Monument

Whitewater boating, hiking, and visiting historic sites are common activities in the monument. Local residents are more likely to visit places t ...


Oregon Forest Collaboratives: What Are the Similarities and Differences Among Them?

Collaboration is a currently a popular approach to resolving conflict around national forest management, particularly in regard to forest health ...


Outdoor Programs for Veterans Offer Therapeutic Opportunities on Public Lands

Lee Cerveny and Monika Derrien, research social scientists with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, examined how outdoor programs for veter ...


Outdoor Recreation Study Maps the Places People Love

Going to the people: Shoppers at farmers’ markets in King County, Wash., shared information about their favorite places for outdoor recreation ...


Last updated on : 10/27/2021