Thoughts on Co-Management and the Forest Service
Participants of the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Program (SNAMP) have expressed a desire
shared by many who have participated in public lands advisory groups, participatory management
initiatives, and co-monitoring programs: they would like assurance that the advice, information, and data they provide will influence public lands management. This issue was raised at the beginning of the project in 2005 and again in April of 2008 by participants in SNAMP workshops: ideally, they would like to Forest Service to “co-manage” with the participants and researchers of SNAMP, using third-party scientific results, and participant knowledge and advice, as much as their own scientific data and knowledge. Because there is often confusion about what kinds of commitments the Forest
Service can make to sharing management decision-making, this short paper reviews some of what is
known about the capacity of the Forest Service to “co-manage” with stakeholders. An introduction briefly describing the roots of the project is followed by a summation of the legislative context within which the Forest Service decision-making process takes place. Finally, some case studies provide examples of stakeholder collaborative efforts working with the Forest Service and other agencies.
The research and writing of this white paper was supported by funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.