The connections between communities and forests are complex and evolving, presenting challenges to forest managers, researchers, and communities themselves. This book examines the responses of forest communities to changing forest values, changing federal policy, timber industry restructuring, and concerns about forest health. Focusing primarily on the United States, the book examines the ways that social scientists work with communities--their role in facilitating social learning, informing policy decisions, and contributing to community well being.
As dependency on timber extraction is no longer a universal characteristic of forest communities, residents are increasingly diverse in the cultural, economic, and aesthetic values that they attribute to forests. Remoteness also no longer applies, as technology and workforce mobility increasingly connect rural to urban places. And forest communities are more than just full-time residents; they include seasonal workers, part-year vacation residents, and urban dwellers who regularly return to forests for recreation. Forest communities are both place and interest-based; they are linked geographically, culturally, and economically to forest lands, and also politically. Forest Community Connections, synthesizes available research on the changing characteristics of forest communities. Bringing perspectives from sociology, anthropology, political science, and forestry, the authors examine the factors that contribute to strong and resilient connections between communities and forests and those that undermine them. They explore a range of management issues, including wildfire, forest restoration, labor force capacity, and the growing demand for forest amenities, and consider a range of governance structures to positively influence the well being of both communities and forests, including collaboration and community-forestry.