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Lee K. Cerveny

Lee K. Cerveny
Research Social Scientist and Team Leader
Goods, Services, and Values
400 N 34th St., Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103-8600
United States
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.

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.
Research Interest

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

  • 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
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Human Ecology Mapping Reveals Public Priorities for Forest Destinations and Roads

Year: 2016
Public land managers often must prioritize among ongoing construction and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities valued by the public. Human ecology mapping is a way to identify and display the diversity of social, cultural, and economic connections among people and the land. The approach is h...

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

Year: 2018
Whitewater boating, hiking, and visiting historic sites are common activities in the monument. Local residents are more likely to visit places throughout the entire monument whereas visitors from nearby metropolitan areas frequented destinations close to the main road. Results of this study were use...

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

Year: 2018
A national survey of Forest Service officials illuminates challenges and opportunities for partnering that varied based on setting. The sociopolitical setting of a national forest (metro, rural, or amenity-based) makes a difference in terms of a forests access to partners and volunteers. Understandi...

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

Year: 2019
Women and people of color in the wildland fire workforce face unique challenges. These findings from a USDA Forest Service case study can be used to develop plans for mitigating barriers to workforce participation and retention, promoting an inclusive work environment, and shaping dialogues around d...

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

Year: 2019
Today’s land managers need current information about user preferences and desired setting features. In addition to learning about setting and activity preferences of the Latinx (Latino/Latina) recreationists around Portland, Oregon, USDA Forest Service scientists identified important barriers to acc...

Outdoor Programs for Veterans Offer Therapeutic Opportunities on Public Lands

Year: 2020
Lee Cerveny and Monika Derrien, research social scientists with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, examined how outdoor programs for veterans on public lands can use the inherent therapeutic value of nature to benefit veterans, particularly those experiencing posttraumatic stress. They identifi...

Interactive Mapping Project Advances All Lands Conservation

Year: 2013
Mapping human connections both on and off the forest helps land managers better anticipate how changes to access in other jurisdictions may affect their own management unit. This knowledge may also be used to initiate discussions with other government agencies, private landowners, and resource partn...

Outdoor Recreation Study Maps the Places People Love

Year: 2015
Going to the people: Shoppers at farmers’ markets in King County, Wash., shared information about their favorite places for outdoor recreation. This kind of citizen mapping could play a valuable role in helping agencies enhance public access and recreation opportunities.

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

Year: 2015
Collaboration is a currently a popular approach to resolving conflict around national forest management, particularly in regard to forest health and wildfire risk reduction. Oregon has at least 24 collaborative groups engaged with all 11 national forests in the state. As efforts increase to expand p...

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

Year: 2018
Social and economic conditions in rural communities have changed since the Northwest Forest Plan was enacted in 1994. A synthesis of research examining the changes will be used to inform forest plan revisions on 17 national forests and 5 Bureau of Land Management units in California, Oregon, and Was...