|Abstract or Summary
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become an essential tool for evaluation and monitoring the biophysical data of natural landscapes. This study addresses the potential for using GIS in the social assessment of human landscapes that are associated with geographic regions of interest. Using the communities surrounding Oregon's federally designated Central Cascades Adaptive Management Area (CCAMA) as a case study, this project attempts to incorporate primary and secondary socio-economic data into map layers suitable for assessment and monitoring purposes. The purpose is twofold: to provide the responsible resource management agencies (Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management) with useful information about their constituent communities and to test the value of GIS as an aid in the social assessment process. Initially, population density maps and interviews with community leaders and agency personnel were used to derive maps of aggregate census blocks for spatially defined relevant communities within the study area. These "community maps" became the basis for analyses of the human ecology and provided a method for assessing community well-being. This study replicates protocols established on the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP) and two products have resulted. First, a socio-economic scale has been developed drawing on data from the Housing and Population Census. Variables of interest include housing tenure, poverty level, education, employment, and public assistance and have been used to indicate a measure of community well-being. Second, a community capacity scale has been constructed based on quantitative survey data from key informants. This scale includes composite measures of physical infrastructure (e.g.
condition of the infrastructure, financial resources, emphasis on quality of business and community), human capital (e.g. support for education, knowledge of the environment,
awareness of competitive markets, use of information resources), and social capital or
civic responsiveness (e.g. ability to work together, levels of volunteerism, multigenerational family orientation). The two scales combine to provide an assessment of community well-being. The data from the socio-economic and community capacity scales are plotted on the community maps in the GIS. This allows land managers to visualize the relative differences in their constituent communities. It also provides baseline information and a methodology to continue monitoring social time series data.