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Protocol for social vulnerability assessment to support national forest planning and management: A technical manual for engaging the public to understand ecosystem service tradeoffs and drivers of change

Posted date: October 15, 2019
Publication Year: 
2019
Authors: Armatas, Christopher A.; Borrie, William T.; Watson, Alan E.
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-396. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 52 p.

Abstract

Despite the generally accepted need for understanding social vulnerability within the context of USDA Forest Service planning and management, there is a lack of structured approaches available to practitioners to gain such an understanding. This social vulnerability protocol provides a step-by-step manual for engaging the public about ecosystem service tradeoffs and the drivers of change considered influential to the continued provision of important ecosystem services. This protocol provides a rigorous social science approach for implementation alongside common public engagement practices such as listening sessions, open houses, and focus groups. The approach includes a fun, thought-provoking exercise to be completed during the public engagement process, and we suggest that the approach can be implemented within the context of already busy work schedules and without outside expertise. This protocol, which is based on the social science method known as Q-methodology, includes guidance from the initial step of describing the decisionmaking context to the final steps of analysis and interpretation. The final results include multiple perspectives held by the public, and the perspectives are conveyed through engaging and understandable illustrations. The knowledge created through implementation of this protocol can inform both natural resource decisionmaking and public relations.

Citation

Armatas, Christopher A.; Borrie, William T.; Watson, Alan E. 2019. Protocol for social vulnerability assessment to support national forest planning and management: A technical manual for engaging the public to understand ecosystem service tradeoffs and drivers of change. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-396. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 52 p.