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Chapter 12: Integrating social, ecological, and economic factors in sustainable recreation planning and decisionmaking

Author(s):

Karla Rogers
Anna B. Miller
Stephen F. McCool
Francisco Valenzuela

Year:

2020

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 257 p.

Description

Sustainability science “transcends the concerns of its foundational disciplines and focuses instead on understanding the complex dynamics that arise from interactions between human and environmental systems” (Clark 2007: 1737). This is reflected by McCool and Kline (2019), who stated that “…a systems thinking approach views problems within a context of interacting social and ecological systems…,” and that implementing systems thinking requires that we “explicitly recognize connections and relationships between people and their natural heritage.” Thus, systems thinking requires integrating multidisciplinary information. However, Egler’s observation cautions us about the challenge of shifting into systems thinking from the current “normal science” paradigm that dominates land management agency culture (Williams 2017). Agencies rarely have the time, budget, or expertise available for collecting and analyzing comprehensive landscape-level data. We propose that an important consideration for applying systems thinking in practice is identifying and integrating issue-specific social, ecological, and economic data while focusing on key analyses and relationships that provide enough information to help evaluate outcomes of specific management or policy actions (Ackoff 1967). This is more of a “bottom up,” issue-driven approach to integration, which focuses on concrete problems and place-based issues (Blahna et al. 2017a, 2017b; Williams 2017), as opposed to “top down,” standardized or metric-driven approaches that are common in systems analysis (Hoos 1983).

Citation

Blahna, Dale J.; Kline, Jeffrey D.; Williams, Daniel R.; Rogers, Karla; Miller, Anna B.; McCool, Stephen F.; Valenzuela, Francisco. 2020. Chapter 12: Integrating social, ecological, and economic factors in sustainable recreation planning and decisionmaking. In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 173-188.

Publication Notes

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/60062