Anthropologist Clifford Geertz described language as a cultural practice that provides a “template or blueprint for the organization of social and psychological processes” (1973: 216). Language matters because the way we speak becomes the blueprint for how we construct and manage our world. It holds power in framing issues, forming knowledge, and normalizing certain ways of interacting with the environment. The ways that we talk about recreation, including the very term “recreation,” reproduce assumptions about people and places while influencing management actions and outcomes. This chapter addresses how language shapes not only recreation and its management, but also sustainable recreation research. Our purpose is threefold: first, illuminate ways that language shapes recreation management work, particularly as it affects inclusivity; second, make a case for the need for managers to recognize how language influences practice and perception; and third, identify opportunities to better align research on recreation language with agency objectives. As recreation researchers and managers seek to create more just and sustainable recreation practices, let us begin with language that will guide us toward the cultural changes to which we aspire.
Many socioeconomic constraints exist for biomass removals from federal lands in the western U.S. We examine several issues of importance, including biomass supply chains and harvesting costs, innovative new uses for bioenergy products, and the policy framework in place to provide incentives for biomass use. Western states vary greatly in the extent and utilization of forest resources, the proportion of land under federal ownership, and community and stakeholder structure and dynamics. Our research—which focused on the socioeconomic factors associated with biomass removal, production, and use—identified several important trends. Long-term stewardship projects could play a role in influencing project economics while being conducive to private investment. State policies are likely to help guide the growth of biomass utilization for energy products. New markets and technologies, such as biofuels, for use in the aviation industry, torrefied wood, mobile pyrolysis, and wood coal cofiring could greatly change the landscape of biomass use. Social needs of residents in wildland urban interfaces will play an important role, especially in an era of megafires. All of these trends—including significant unknowns, like the volatile prices of fossil energy—are likely to affect the economics of biomass removal and use in western forests.
Public lands provide opportunities and settings for people to experience nature and the outdoors. These outdoor experiences are important for human health and well-being and result in visitor spending that benefits local communities. This report shows that new research, tools, and frameworks are needed to help us find new ways to conceptualize outdoor recreation and enhance the ability of public land managers to provide outdoor experiences while protecting natural and cultural resources. The report originated from a set of 17 working papers that were developed as part of an initiative among researchers, managers, and policymakers to “ignite the science of outdoor recreation.” These papers were presented at a 2018 science workshop in Golden, Colorado, that convened 88 outdoor recreation professionals to explore high-priority issues, information needs, and research directions. Their intent was to stimulate further questions, catalyze new thinking about recreation, and prompt institutional changes in how outdoor recreation and tourism are planned and managed on public lands.
An approach to community-based forestry (CBF) on federal forestlands in the western United States consists of a number of informal civil society institutions for communities to better organize internally and interact with government. We review the body of research on this topic, which has an explicit focus on the three interlinked aspects of democratic governance practiced to provide community benefits and ecological sustainability. We situate its prominent concepts and themes relative to the global literature on CBF, and initiate new conversation about what CBF may mean within the context of contemporary federal forest governance in the US. Drawing on our collective research and practice experience, we then propose premises and questions for a vision of a contemporary research agenda around CBF in the western US that is influenced by salient questions from the global community forestry literature, and current social and policy trends in federal lands governance.
A recent expansion in wood energy use at schools in Alaska has resulted in more than a dozen wood energy systems in operation. However, few have been evaluated for fuel efficiency and pollution impacts, both of which can be examined via combustion gas analysis. In this research, we monitored the wood energy system at a public school during winter heating conditions. Wood energy parameters were sampled on three occasions during early, mid, and late winter in northern Alaska. Combustion gas was sampled for a range of parameters that indicated boiler performance, including gas emmissions of oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), excess air, combustion efficiency, and stack temperature, which were monitored over 6 days. We observed differences in combustion gas composition between seasons as well as the response of combustion efficiency to gas concentrations. Combustion efficiency most strongly correlated with excess air (R2 = 0.693), but poorly correlated with stack temperature (R2 = 0.005). The primary combustion gases (O2, CO2, and CO) were moderately correlated with combustion efficiency (with R2 values of 0.40, 0.56, and 0.55, respectively). Seasonal differences were found between early, mid, and late winter, with generally less variation in combustion gas contents occurring during late winter. Mean combustion gas concentrations also varied with heating season. In all cases, mid-winter means were significantly different than early and late winter values. This research found that more efficient combustion of wood fuels should lead to cost savings, especially during early and late heating seasons. The findings should also be relevant to those of other wood-energy-using schools (in Alaska and elsewhere) that experience severe mid-winter conditions coupled with milder shoulder seasons.
From 2007 through 2017, Oregon implemented an incentive program for biomass collection and production. This research evaluates renewable biomass production and deliveries during a 3-year period (2012 to 2014) in which this tax credit was in place. We evaluated total delivered tons, average payments per load, delivered location, and average transportation distance of woody biomass. We found that total delivered tons of biomass decreased each year between 2012 and 2014, as did the number of users participating in the tax credit program. The average delivered tons, by participant, was more than double in 2014 its level in earlier years, suggesting that fewer, larger entities were participating. We also evaluated differences in biomass delivery, based on receipts, transportation distances, and tons delivered, for each land ownership class. There were statistically significant differences between private and public land ownership for 2012 and 2013 but not for 2014, which included fewer applicants. Our study showed that effective biomass utilization policies need to provide sufficient economic incentives to encourage adoption by both participants and biomass energy producers, and, to be effective, to consider the complete supply chain and type of energy produced. Future economic conditions in Oregon will most likely include rapid changes in renewable energy technologies and fluctuations in fossil fuel prices, and any truly effective renewable energy policies must be sufficiently nimble to account for these and other uncertainties.
Amenity-rich rural communities attract tourists, retirees, secondhome owners, and others whose values are often assumed to conflict with those of longtime residents. While prior research has examined attitudinal differences across types of residents, questions about the effects of community growth on residents’ attitudes remain unanswered. This study examines whether and how seasonal and permanent residents differ within and across towns experiencing different rates of growth, and the implications of differences for attitudes toward community development and preservation. Results showed that permanent residents (both short- and long-term) perceived community development initiatives as more important to maintaining future quality of life than did seasonal homeowners. Further, community growth rates had statistically significant effects: residents of slower-growth towns attributed higher importance to both development and preservation initiatives than did residents of faster-growing towns. Growth rate was thus a stronger predictor of attitudes toward both development and preservation than resident type.