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Social values, ethics

Projects

The research objective is to develop western white pine management strategies focused on regeneration establishment and young forest development by 1) developing canopy opening size thresholds where western white pine can establish and grow, 2) developing alternative tending methods to enable managers to continue to manage western white pine plantations, 3) evaluating plantation resilience to wildfire, and 4) evaluating understory plant diversity under 30-year or older western white pine plantations.  
Through fire management and riparian ecosystem restoration RMRS researchers Terrie Jain, Kate Dwire, and Travis Warziniack are partnering with the University of Idaho and the Idaho City Ranger District to develop, implement, and evaluate different adaptive management strategies to improve the fire resiliency of the Boise National Forest. 
The Lassen and Modoc National Forests are revising their Forest Plans, guided by the 2012 Planning Rule. This requires public and tribal input throughout the process and embraces the fact that ecological, social, and economic objectives are interrelated. Because ecological, social, and economic conditions have changed since the original forest plans were written and new science is available, preparing a science synthesis, guided by input from the public, tribes, and forest staffs, is the first step in a multi-step process that eventually leads to revised forest plans.
RMRS researcher Nate Anderson will work directly with SCNF's Gina Knudson to augment the Forest's socioeconomic expertise during the forest plan revision process. The goal of this partnership is to broaden the Forest's expertise during the forest plan revision process. The collaboration between the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the RMRS Human Dimensions program is an excellent opportunity to directly serve the needs of the Forest and agency, more broadly.
Research on social-symbolic meanings is advancing our understanding of how recreation activity participation contributes to psychological well-being; how attachments to places contribute to a sense of meaning, identity, and community; how attachments vary across culture and affect local management regimes; and how place meanings and attachments affect natural resource conflicts. A key outcome of this work has been the development of standardized questionnaire instruments designed to measure place attachment among recreation site visitors and community residents.
In 2015, analysts with Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) continued to be involved with application of a wildfire risk assessment framework developed largely by RMRS scientists from both the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program and the Human Dimensions Program. The risk assessment framework is useful for multiple reasons: it provides a means to assess the potential risk posed by wildfire to specific highly valued resources and assets (HVRAs) across large landscapes, and it also provides a scientifically-based foundation for fire managers to think strategically and proactively about how to best manage fire and fuels on their landscapes in a way that integrates with broader land and resource management goals.  
Homeowners who choose to build or buy homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) are sometimes viewed as irresponsible for expecting their homes to be protected by government firefighters when a wildfire breaks out, or for counting on their insurance companies to cover any property losses. But is this really a fair assessment?
A damage schedule is a predetermined set of sanctions, restrictions, and damage payments tied to an ordered set of potential resource losses. The ordering of the schedule is based on community judgments of the relative importance of the potential losses.
The studies reported in the following papers were performed to help improve stated preference methods for estimating the values of public goods.