New Hands in US Public Lands Management: The Role and Influence of Nonagency Partners in Forest Service Stewardship Agreements

Emery R. Cowan, Kerry E. Grimm, Emily Jane Davis, Erik A. Nielsen, Amy E.M. Waltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The USDA Forest Service (USFS) is increasingly turning to partnership tools such as stewardship agreements (SAs) to accomplish land management objectives. In these arrangements, nonagency partners (partners) often bring resources, capabilities, and preferences that can influence management processes and activities. We explored the nature of partner influence in SAs through interviews with USFS and partner staff in four SA case studies in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. Interviewees perceived that partners influenced project prioritization; implementation pace, scope, and approach; and SA participants' ways of working. Influence was linked to partners' involvement in SA project selection; contribution of resources, expertise, and capabilities; and assumption of some project implementation responsibilities. USFS-partner relationships also appeared to encourage partnership-oriented approaches beyond the original project. Our research suggests SA partners are uniquely influential in the implementation of USFS management activities and recommends additional exploration of SAs in the context of collaborative implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-315
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Forestry
Volume120
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Keywords

  • collaboration
  • forest policy
  • forest restoration
  • partnerships
  • restoration implementation
  • stewardship agreements
  • stewardship authority
  • US Forest Service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science

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