, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 13-23

The Role of Population Projections in Environmental Management

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California and other regions in the United States are becoming more populated and ethnically diverse, and thus, ecological impacts on the wildland–urban interface are a significant policy concern. In a socioeconomic assessment focused on the geographic regions surrounding four national forests in southern California, population projections are being formulated to assist in the update of forest plans. In southern California, the projected trend of explosive population growth combined with increased ethnic and racial diversity indicates four challenges for environmental management. First, patterns of recreation use on wildlands are likely to change, and management of these areas will have to address new needs. Second, as land-management agencies face changing constituencies, new methods of soliciting public involvement from ethnic and racial groups will be necessary. Third, growth in the region is likely to encroach upon wildland areas, affecting water, air, open space, and endangered species. Fourth, in order to address all these concerns in a climate of declining budgets, resource management agencies need to strengthen collaborative relationships with other agencies in the region. How environmental managers approach these changes has widespread implications for the ecological sustainability of forests in southern California.