National forests and grasslands in the United States are governed by land and resource management plans that should be updated every 15 years to reflect changing social, economic, and environmental conditions and to address new priorities. A new forest planning rule finalized in 2012 introduces new planning approaches and requirements, and several forests have completed the forest assessment phase of their planning process. Using document analysis and interview data, we analyzed four completed forest assessments to gain insights into early forest planning efforts under the 2012 rule. We found that forest assessments address the required topics, although the organization and depth of treatment varies across cases; government sources and academic publishers are relied on most often as sources of scientific information; and approaches to best available scientific information rely on peer-reviewed information, agency technical reports and syntheses, and personal expertise and judgement.
Ryan, C. M.; Cerveny, L. K.; Robinson, T. L.; Blahna, D. J. 2018. Implementing the 2012 forest planning rule: Best available scientific information in forest planning assessments. Forest Science. 64(2): 159-169. https://doi.org/10.1093/forsci/fxx004.