Maintaining healthy forests requires multiple individuals, including foresters who develop timber sale silvicultural prescriptions and loggers who implement those prescriptions, resulting in the transplantation of forest health science into workable management plans. However, data on the experiences, attitudes, and opinions of these two groups are often missing when developing or refining forest health treatment strategies. To explore the role that these groups play in sustaining forest health, we examined timber sale administrators' and loggers' perspectives on treatment approaches for eastern spruce dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium pusillum) (ESDM), a parasitic plant native to Minnesota that increases mortality and reduces growth rate and regeneration success of black spruce (Picea mariana). While ESDM has been managed for decades in black spruce stands in Minnesota, little is known about the effectiveness of the management approaches. Data were gathered through interviews and focus groups with loggers, as well as an online survey and focus groups with foresters who administer timber sales. Study participants identified a range of field-based barriers, knowledge gaps, and uncertainties that hamper the ability to effectively implement ESDM treatment strategies as designed, including financial, administrative, informational, policy-related, and environmental factors. These factors have a significant bearing on the ability to effectively implement ESDM treatment approaches; yet may be factors that were not known or considered when developing treatment strategies. This case study underscores the value of nurturing a science–management partnership to ensure that a broad set of voices are considered when developing or revising forest health treatment strategies.
Snyder, Stephanie A.; Blinn, Charles R.; Roth, Sarah; Windmuller-Campione, Marcella. 2022. Gaining Insights about Forest Health Prescriptions from Loggers and Foresters: Understudied Voices in the Human Dimensions of Forest Health. Environmental Management. 14 p. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-022-01652-5.