Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Jill Belsky, Len Broberg


eco-politics, forest ecology, public-land management, restoration


University of Montana


Vranizan, Gregory M. M.S. Autumn 2006 Environmental Studies RHETORIC AND THE RESTORATION LANDSCAPE: FOREST RESTORATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL DEBATE Committee Chairperson: Phil Condon Forest restoration on federal land has become the focus of an ongoing public debate in the West. Interest groups on various sides have engaged in a rhetorical contest to define restoration in ways that accord with their own ideas about the use and management of the nation’s public lands. This study examines the positions taken by different groups and considers the rhetorical claims they make. Disputes over meanings and practices have thus far limited the chances for a meaningful restoration program. Science, industry, and the environmental community have all argued that their respective agendas and values should determine a public policy for restoration. Collectively, their arguments map out a middle ground in the “restoration landscape” where the various interest groups must eventually come to agreement. Although intransigent eco-politics have slowed progress toward a goal of restoring forest ecosystems, the continuing rhetorical exchange shows these competing interests moving toward inevitable compromise. The policy outcomes for restoration can include radical reform within the existing management structure: ecological restoration officially declared a federal priority in an equitable and realistic program prescribed under law. Thus the restoration debate gives us reason to hope that ecological health, sustainable use, and social accord may all be restored to western forests.



© Copyright 2006 Gregory M. Vranizan