Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Equity in Community Forestry in the Western US Public Deposited

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  • Community forestry is a decentralized form of forest governance that is widely promoted around the world. In the United States, community forestry is growing as a form of forest management, and exists across a range of ownership and governance models, all with different levels of community participation and access to benefits. While a key tenet of community forestry is to bring decision-making and benefits closer to the community, not everyone in a community has the same access. This research examines how management of community forestry in the western US addresses concerns of equity in access to decision making and benefits from forest management. In pursuit of this goal, I describe two case studies of community forestry in the western US owned by community-based organizations. I conducted semi-structured interviews with community forest managers, local leaders, community members, and other stakeholders. An equity framework, describing procedural, distributional, recognitional, and contextual dimensions of equity was used in the formation of interview questions and analysis of interviews. Analysis shows that there are a variety of ways for community forest management to contribute to equity based upon either formal or informal processes for determining community needs. Additionally, there are differences in how equity presents itself across dimensions in each case study. The intent of this study is to contribute to the discussion of how community forests can be structured more equitably.
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