Private forests, public policy : oak conservation on family forests in Oregon’s Willamette Valley Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9593tx65j

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  • In the United States, many of the thorniest natural resource conflicts occur on private lands. This is especially true in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon where the hallmark habitat type, Oregon white oak woodland and savanna, is imperiled. Almost exclusively found on private land, Oregon white oak is threatened by urban development, vineyards, tree plantations, and the elimination of the periodic fires to which it is adapted. While regional and local planners, conservationists and natural resource agencies are attempting to conserve oak, little effort has been made to understand the social group in whose hands the fate of much of the resource rests: family forest owners. This paper presents a case study of oak conservation on family forestlands in Oregon. Through individual and group interviews and building upon social constructionism and interpretive policy analysis, this research investigates how two stakeholder groups—family forest owners and natural resource professionals—frame the problem of oak’s decline and opportunities and constraints for its conservation. It also analyzes some of the conservation policies that informants suggested for oak. By illuminating owners’ needs, capacities and constraints, and identifying areas of common ground and conflict in informants’ interpretive frames, this research identifies ways to reach out to a target group with empathy, facilitate cooperation between stakeholders, and avert potential conflicts that arise from conservation strategies.
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