The Policy Context of the White Mountain Stewardship Contract

Chapter

Abstract

The White Mountains region of Arizona consists of the high-elevation, forested terrain roughly encompassed by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (fig. 12.1) and White Mountain Apache tribal lands (the Ft. Apache Reservation). Conditions in the ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest that predominates here reflect those throughout much of the western United States. These historically frequent-fire forests, once characterized by open stands, an abundance of larger trees, and a rich ground cover of grasses and forbs, are now more commonly overstocked with small-diameter pines and lack a productive grass layer; such conditions leave them susceptible to uncharacteristic, stand-replacing fires (Cooper 1960; Johnson 1994; Covington 2003). The White Mountains region also resembles much of the western United States in that it was recently the scene of divisive social and political conflict regarding public land management, endangered species, timber harvesting, and wildlife. Conflicts took the form of legal challenges to federal timber sales, the intervention of federal courts in management decisions, and accusations and finger-pointing as activity in the woods ground to a halt and local mills closed down (Nie 1998; Abrams and Burns 2007).

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Copyright information

© Island Press 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oregon State UniversityArizonaUSA

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