Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Category

Social Sciences/Humanities

Abstract/Artist Statement

Forest management on public lands is inherently complex due to multiple resource objectives coupled with diverse, and at times competing, stakeholder interests. One approach to address these complexities is to incorporate forest-based collaborative groups into forest planning and management. In general, collaboration focuses on inclusive participation, civil dialogue and shared commitments, all within a fair and transparent process. In application, collaboration has become a valued approach for incorporating a diversity of interests, knowledge systems, experiences, and resources, into well-informed and effective management plans. Collaborative approaches to natural resource management have increased significantly across the Intermountain West, with Idaho seeing a 53% increase in collaborative restoration efforts between 2013 and 2017, as reported by Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership. In part, this trend can be attributed to recent increases in wildfire severity and prevalence, as well as the damaging impacts of insects and diseases. These factors have degraded national forests and disrupted natural ecosystem processes, while also threatening local livelihoods and property. In response, forest-based collaborative groups have partnered with land management agencies to address these issues while also trying to achieve multiple forest objectives. To gain an understanding of the factors currently influencing forest-based collaborative groups in Montana and Idaho, a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis was conducted by the National Forest Foundation (NFF). As a neutral organization that facilitates, engages, and supports collaborative groups and processes, the NFF has close working relationships with many collaboratives and was well-positioned to conduct such an analysis. The SWOT analysis method offers a comprehensive examination of both the internal and external factors influencing collaborative groups. To identify and evaluate these factors, we conducted peer-to-peer interviews with a total of 23 groups: 14 from Montana and 9 from Idaho. While analyzing each interview, all SWOT-related information was pulled out and categorized accordingly. A thematic analysis was then conducted for each SWOT category, resulting in a list of broad, overarching themes, as identified within the Results section of the report. The results of this SWOT analysis offer a collective picture of the challenges and opportunities currently faced by forest-based collaboratives in Montana and Idaho. By attributing measures of significance to each of the factors identified, collaborative groups can prioritize their growth and development to focus on areas of greatest need and/or of greatest potential opportunity. Additionally, the NFF is looking to facilitate conversations with collaborative practitioners to identify resources and services that are currently available to support collaborative work, while also outlining those that need to be expanded or made more accessible. An additional component of these conversations is to jointly develop recommendations to support collaborative groups in their ability to address their identified needs. In doing so, the overall goal is to strengthen the capacity of forest-based collaborative groups and to enhance their ability to achieve desired outcomes.

Mentor Name

Matthew McKinney

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Utilizing the SWOT Analysis Method to Evaluate Forest-Based Collaborative Groups

Forest management on public lands is inherently complex due to multiple resource objectives coupled with diverse, and at times competing, stakeholder interests. One approach to address these complexities is to incorporate forest-based collaborative groups into forest planning and management. In general, collaboration focuses on inclusive participation, civil dialogue and shared commitments, all within a fair and transparent process. In application, collaboration has become a valued approach for incorporating a diversity of interests, knowledge systems, experiences, and resources, into well-informed and effective management plans. Collaborative approaches to natural resource management have increased significantly across the Intermountain West, with Idaho seeing a 53% increase in collaborative restoration efforts between 2013 and 2017, as reported by Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership. In part, this trend can be attributed to recent increases in wildfire severity and prevalence, as well as the damaging impacts of insects and diseases. These factors have degraded national forests and disrupted natural ecosystem processes, while also threatening local livelihoods and property. In response, forest-based collaborative groups have partnered with land management agencies to address these issues while also trying to achieve multiple forest objectives. To gain an understanding of the factors currently influencing forest-based collaborative groups in Montana and Idaho, a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis was conducted by the National Forest Foundation (NFF). As a neutral organization that facilitates, engages, and supports collaborative groups and processes, the NFF has close working relationships with many collaboratives and was well-positioned to conduct such an analysis. The SWOT analysis method offers a comprehensive examination of both the internal and external factors influencing collaborative groups. To identify and evaluate these factors, we conducted peer-to-peer interviews with a total of 23 groups: 14 from Montana and 9 from Idaho. While analyzing each interview, all SWOT-related information was pulled out and categorized accordingly. A thematic analysis was then conducted for each SWOT category, resulting in a list of broad, overarching themes, as identified within the Results section of the report. The results of this SWOT analysis offer a collective picture of the challenges and opportunities currently faced by forest-based collaboratives in Montana and Idaho. By attributing measures of significance to each of the factors identified, collaborative groups can prioritize their growth and development to focus on areas of greatest need and/or of greatest potential opportunity. Additionally, the NFF is looking to facilitate conversations with collaborative practitioners to identify resources and services that are currently available to support collaborative work, while also outlining those that need to be expanded or made more accessible. An additional component of these conversations is to jointly develop recommendations to support collaborative groups in their ability to address their identified needs. In doing so, the overall goal is to strengthen the capacity of forest-based collaborative groups and to enhance their ability to achieve desired outcomes.