Reacting or Adapting? Nonstate Actors’ Role in Catalyzing Forest Governance Changes in the Wake of Native Insect Epidemics

Authors: Jesse Abrams*, University of Oregon, Heidi Huber-Stearns, University of Oregon, Chris Bone, University of Victoria, Cassandra Moseley, University of Oregon
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: institutions, stewardship, forests, civil society, climate change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Governance approaches for federal forestlands in the United States have undergone a steady shift in recent decades, not only from a predominant commodity orientation to a more complex restoration and stewardship orientation, but also from state-dominated to more networked and collaborative models. However, this pattern of change has been spatially and temporally uneven across the diversity of federal forest landscapes, and it is not clear what catalyzes these changes or how durable they may be in the face of longstanding institutional drivers. Here we analyze the dynamics of hybrid public-private-civil society networks that emerged across four federal forest-dominated geographies to determine how, if at all, short-term responses to Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemics catalyzed longer-term shifts in forest governance. We pay particular attention to the role of nonstate actors in filling federal capacity gaps, securing new sources of funding for stewardship, and facilitating the movement toward networked governance. We also highlight the influence of broader regional to national institutions and path dependencies in shaping, constraining, or enabling these broad patterns of change. Our findings have implications for both forest governance specifically and the governance of climate-driven disturbances more broadly.

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