Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Martin Nie

Commitee Members

Alan Watson, Laurie Yung


NEPA, fire management planning, public participation, scoping, federal land management, scenario planning


University of Montana


This professional paper examines scenario planning and how it may be used as a scoping planning tool for climate change and fire, fuels, and smoke management decision-making. This paper first reviews United States Forest Service fire management policies and public participation requirements and practices. It also reviews the literature on the use of scenario planning in natural resources management and documents specific cases of scenario planning relevant to U.S. federal lands management. Scenario planning is best used in a variety of ways, with variation in how it is linked to agency decision-making, the scale in which it is used, and the role the public plays in the process. Scenario planning also demonstrates the strengths of a successful public participation tool because it enables mutual learning among participants and allows them to weigh the trade-offs of policy alternatives.

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© Copyright 2011 Matthew K. Ehrman