Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 5–16 | Cite as

Human dimensions of forest management: an empirical study of stakeholder perspectives

  • Anne R. Kearney
  • Gordon Bradley


Although much has been written on the human dimensions of forest management, there has been little empirical investigation of how forest stakeholders themselves conceptualize this domain. We used a conceptual content cognitive mapping (3CM) task along with a short survey to explore the perspectives of 23 forest stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest on the human factors relevant to appropriate forest management. Study participants were chosen from three groups: employees of the U.S. Forest Service at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest, employees of a large timber company, and area environmentalists. Three distinct human dimensions emerged: Traditional intangible benefits (aesthetic concerns, recreation and cultural resources), Values and expectations (considering multiple values, maintaining public expectations, considering social acceptability and maintaining public confidence in forestry), and Process issues indecision making (public involvement, communication across boundaries, collaboration and taking an interdisciplinary approach). In this article, we discuss these three dimensions, the differences found among the stakeholder groups in the importance they placed on each of these dimensions, and the benefits of the 3CM method in this context.

human dimensions forest management ecosystem management cognitive mapping Pacific Northwest 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne R. Kearney
    • 1
  • Gordon Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Forest Resources, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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