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Susan Charnley

Susan Charnley
Research Social Scientist
Goods, Services, and Values
620 SW Main, Suite 502
Portland, OR 97205-3028
United States
Current Research
I am an environmental anthropologist whose research aims to improve understanding of how to integrate community well-being and development with ecosystem health and the sustainable management of natural resources, with a goal of informing policy and advancing theory. My current research projects fall into two broad areas�the first examines how federal forest management activities can be linked to rural community development opportunities; the second examines forest management practices on different ownerships, the social variables that influence them, and how they shape forest conditions. I work mainly in the western United States.
Past Research
My past research has focused on the human dimensions of natural resource use and management and the social causes and consequences of environmental change. I have undertaken research on these topics while working with pastoralists in East Africa, indigenous peoples in Panama's rainforests, native Alaskans in western Alaska, and forest workers and owners in the western United States.
Research Interest
Socioeconomic monitoring and assessment; how to sustain rural, resource-based livelihoods; community-based natural resource management; interacting human and ecological systems.
Why This Research Is Important
It is not possible to develop and implement natural resource management institutions, policies, and practices that are environmentally sound and socially just unless their social dimensions are understood and addressed.
  • Stanford University, Ph.D., Anthropology, 1994
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Challenges in coordinating wildfire risk reduction among diverse forest owners

Year: 2017
Research across a multi-owner landscape in central Oregon found that in general, Forest Service management was likely to produce forest conditions most resilient to high-severity wildfire, and private corporate management the least likely. Interventions to address key constraints to management may i...

Grazing and endangered fish recovery: finding ways to make both possible

Year: 2018
Grazing management on national forests is more likely to sustain and recover endangered fish, and support ranchers’ livelihoods, if there is more regulatory flexibility to promote adaptive management and foster resilience; and participatory approaches in which stakeholders share knowledge and co-dev...

An “All Lands” Approach to Addressing Wildfire Risk

Year: 2020
Landscape-scale management to reduce wildfire risk in frequent-fire forest ecosystems of the western United States calls for coordination and buy-in from many diverse landowners. Researcher social scientist Susan Charnley with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and her colleagues examined multip...

Socioeconomic Monitoring and Community Forests in West Africa

Year: 2016
Community forests may be effective for conserving forest biodiversity in West Africa and sustaining desirable ecosystem services and forest products; however, community forestry takes different forms and occurs under different types of institutional arrangements and conservation incentives. Long-ter...

The Effects of Landscape Restoration Strategies on Fire and Ecosystem Services Vary with Rate of Treatment in a Fire-prone Multi-ownership Region

Year: 2016
The results and the landscape modeling tool are being used by the Deschutes National Forest and the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project to facilitate discussion and development of policies and practices for accelerating landscape-scale forest restoration efforts.

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...

Fire as a tool

Year: 2018
Landscape-scale forest restoration programs that incorporate managed wildfire and prescribed fire lead to more pronounced reductions in fire severity in frequent-fire forests.