General Technical Report (GTR)
Good forestry practices require onsite flexibility. A core concept in U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-220 "An Ecosystem Management Strategy for Sierran Mixed-Conifer Forests" (North et al. 2009) is that management treatments and thinning intensity should differ depending on local forest conditions and topographic location. In the absence of restricted forestry practices (e.g., stream exclusion zones, upper diameters for thinning, etc.), managers have to effectively communicate where and how different treatment decisions will be made. Using GTR 220 concepts requires effective outreach and project transparency. No single blueprint exists to achieve cooperation and trust as social context differs between projects, national forests, and stakeholders involved.
The objective of this chapter is to provide an example and analysis of a successful collaboration that may help projects find their own path to building public cooperation. Other forest management projects many not need professional mediation, yet some of the principles discussed here may be of value in any project involving public outreach. This chapter's example is a summary of how mediation and group collaboration led to settlement of one of the more litigated forest management projects in the Sierra Nevada-fuels treatments around the Dinkey Creek area on the Sierra National Forest.
For 15 years, conflict and litigation had stalled management practices on the Kings River project, which contains habitat used by a subpopulation of fisher. In 2009, with the help of an outside mediator, the Sierra National Forest Project Planning Forum successfully developed a proposed 5,000-ac (2023-ha) project—Dinkey Creek North and South based on GTR 220's conceptual framework. Subsequent to the successful project collaboration, the Sierra National Forest received significant Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration funding. Currently, the Sierra National Forest is proceeding with the environmental analysis, and is expanding the collaborative group's membership and project area.