The Ecosystem Workforce Program links ecological health, economic prosperity, and democratic governance through our applied research and policy education.
In the News...
Dr. Heidi Huber-Stearns has assumed the position of Director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon. Heidi has been serving as Associate Director of EWP since 2018. Heidi will continue to provide exceptional leadership in managing EWP staff and operations, and working with our valued partners. She will be supported in this role by Dr. Emily Jane Davis, EWP Associate Director at Oregon State University.
We would like to recognize and thank Dr. Cassandra Moseley, who served as EWP’s Director for nearly two decades. Under Cass’s direction, EWP tremendously grew in scope and impact, becoming a recognized leader in applied research and policy education across the West. Cass is now serving as interim Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Oregon. She will remain engaged with EWP as a Senior Policy Advisor, and we look forward to her continued guidance and vision.
Strategies for Increasing Prescribed Fire Application on Federal Lands: Lessons from Case Studies in the U.S. West
With partners from the Colorado State University Public Lands Policy Group and the U.S. Forest Service, we recently released our newest working paper. In this report, we compile lessons learned across four case studies focused on cooperative efforts to increase application of fire in the West. We present individual case studies on units in California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon in the appendices. The working paper, appendices, and our previous publications for this project can all be found on the project webpage.
Social and Economic Monitoring of the Tongass National Forest and Southeast Alaska Communities
Dr. Heidi Huber-Stearns and Faculty Research Assistant Anna Santo completed a project focused on helping the Tongass Transition Collaborative and other stakeholders develop a plan to track social and economic conditions in Southeast Alaska before and after the Tongass National Forest’s transition from harvesting old growth to young growth. This recent work covers: socioeconomic conditions in the area, timber sales, natural resources contracts and collaborative work on the Tongass National Forest, and stakeholder perceptions of how the Transition has impacted the wellbeing of residents in Southeast Alaska.
Several EWP staff recently attended the annual meeting of our partners, the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition. This gathering brings together over 100 organizations engaged in land management and community wellbeing in the rural West. Dr. Heidi Huber-Stearns and Faculty Research Assistant Anna Santo helped lead a discussion about performance measures for the US Forest Service’s shared stewardship initiative, while Dr. Emily Jane Davis led a session about fostering safe and equitable workforces on federal lands with partners at the Northwest Forest Worker Center and Lomakatsi Restoration Project. This follows on a workshop that she helped convene on the topic this fall—learn more about our workforce efforts with RVCC here!
New Working Paper: Our latest working paper presents updated socioeconomic monitoring results for the Lakeview Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) project, alongside indicators and results from previous reports and a baseline analysis. The paper is available to download at our working papers page.
New Working Paper: Our newest working paper, #96, presents a synthesis of the literature on "Social Vulnerability and Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface." As the realities of fire risk in the Wildland Urban Interface intensify, the synthesis tracks the conceptual debates and emerging insights on social vulnerability from multiple disciplinary and methodological directions. Both the literature synthesis and an annotated bibliography of the literature included are available to download at our working papers page.
New article in Science magazine
What kinds of policies and governance approaches will help improve wildfire mangement? Find out in this new article published in Science magazine, by Courtney Schultz (Colorado State University Associate Professor and Director of the Public Lands Policy Group) and EWP Director Cassandra Moseley: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6461/38.
New video on our research!
Another video for the Northwest Fire Science Consortium! This video covers the results of some of the research we worked on around how large wildfires impact local economies during across the U.S. west, from onset to recovery and beyond. Visit the Economic Impacts of Large Wildfires project page.
New publication: Iconic Places of the USDA Forest Service
For the final product of this project, we created a book highlighting all of the Forest Service-managed iconic places managed included in the research. A short description and background is included for each location, along with information on establishment, reasons designated, recreation uses, nearby population centers, visitor numbers, and maps showing locations both nationally and in the local landscape. For more information about this project, including all publications, visit the project page.
Fish and Fire: Habitat and History in the Northwest. We just finished up another new video as part of our work for with the Northwest Fire Science Consortium. It includes some really cool animation to show how wildfires can provide beneficial habitat for native fish species, as well as interviews with two research fish biologists who describe how fish in the Pacific Northwest have evolved with wildfire disturbances, and how considering this history can help inform management prescriptions for both wildfire and fisheries.
This research effort was part of our work with the Northwest Fire Science Consortium. The paper presents findings from both in-depth interviews and a larger survey of fire science users in Oregon and Washington, focusing specifically on topics where respondents felt more local, site-specific research was needed.
For more information and publications on this research project: Mountain Pine Beetle Response Project Page.
We have TWO new working papers and a new fact sheet out based on our monitoring of the Oregon Department of Forestry's Federal Forest Restoration Program, which is a partnership between the state of Oregon, federal forest managers, and public lands stakeholders to increase forest resilience and economic opportunity on federal forestlands across Oregon. The Oregon state legislature has funded the FFR Program since the state of Oregon’s fiscal year 2014, and these new publications take a look at outcomes over the past 6 years. For more information: FFR Program Monitoring page
Several of us at EWP have worked on this article, just released in Society and Natural Resources!:
"Tracking a Governance Transition: Identifying and Measuring Indicators of Social Forestry on the Willamette National Forest"
- Our Director, Cass Moseley, and Associate Director, Heidi Huber-Stearns, along with CSU Associate Professor Courtney Schultz, have written an article that has just been released on The Conversation. Find it here: "Planned burns can reduce wildfire risks, but expanding use of ‘good fire’ isn’t easy."
- We have a new working paper!
Working Paper #90: The Financial Picture of Oregon's Forest Collaboratives, examines how Oregon’s forest collaborative groups are funded. It addresses questions including sources of collaborative funding, diversity of sources, match leveraged, and collaborative preferences for future grant offerings. Check it out today!
In Oregon, the Federal Forest Restoration Program (FFRP) facilitates partnership between the state of Oregon, federal forest managers, and public lands stakeholders to increase forest restoration and economic opportunity on federal forest lands across the state. Our newest fact sheets take a look at some of the impacts of the program, including investments, jobs, and wages generated over the last 6 years (Fact Sheet #15: Oregon's Federal Forest Restoration Program: FY 2014–2019 Cumulative Accomplishments), and FFRP use of the Good Neighbor Authority (Fact Sheet #16: Federal Forest Restoration Program Use of the Good Neighbor Authority: 2016–2018 activities and outcomes). Click the images below for pdfs of these fact sheets, and find all of our fact sheets here.
We have two new working papers that take a look at recent accelerated restoration efforts in the Blue Mountains Region of eastern Oregon. WP 88: Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities for Collaborative Accelerated Restoration in Oregon's Blue Mountains presents perceptions and opinions of collaborative group members and other key stakeholders regarding their interpretations of accelerated restoration and the roles and functioning of collaborative groups in the Blue Mountains. WP 89: Restoring Resilience at the Landscape Scale documents the approach to landscape scale planning taken by the Blue Mountains Restoration Strategy’s ID Team, and shares some lessons learned from this effort. Click on the images at left to download the working papers, or find them with all of our working papers at: http://ewp.uoregon.edu/publications/working. A 2-page briefing paper summary is also available (BP 85: Lessons Learned from the Blue Mountains Restoration Strategy Team).
Restoration in a Fire Forest: The Benefits of Burning
We recently finished up a video as part of our work for with the Northwest Fire Science Consortium–check it out below!
Wildfire has historically played an important role in the health and structure of Oregon's dry forests. Prescribed fire is a valuable tool used to restore forest health, increase firefighter safety, and better protect nearby human resources in these fire-adapted landscapes.
Wildfire research and happenings
EWP continues its applied research on organizational and policy dimensions of wildfire in the West:
- Case studies about how wildfire risk may be more effectively “co-managed” across boundaries are currently underway in New Mexico and Oregon with our partners at Oregon State University, Colorado State University, and Utah State University. Learn more about this project.
- EWP director Cassandra Moseley contributed to ongoing wildfire discussions in a recent article in The Conversation about how spiraling wildfire fighting costs are largely beyond the Forest Service’s control.
- We are presenting a webinar through the Northwest Fire Science Consortium on findings thus far from our "Prescribed fire policy barriers" JFSP project, on November 29th, please join us and register here!
We are happy to welcome the newest member of our team, Research Associate, Michael R Coughlan. Michael is an environmental anthropologist who specializes in socio-ecological systems, historical ecology, quantitative geospatial analyses (GIS), mixed- methods ethnography, and cross-disciplinary collaborations between the social and natural sciences. His research interests focus on discovering how diverse human institutions and behaviors interact with the natural world, specifically in relation to fire and forest management issues and settlement and land use dynamics. In addition to this anthropological perspective, Michael brings interests in spatial analysis and big data analytics that will augment EWP’s research capabilities.
Accomplishing Cross-Boundary Restoration
The US Forest Service has been implementing new initiatives to accelerate cross-boundary, collaborative, and integrated restoration. EWP’s ongoing research is helping to understand and monitor these strategies. We’ve examined lessons learned from the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership and the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. We’ve also explored landscapes without these programs and how they can achieve their goals. Both of these publications and more information on the research effort are available on the project page.
Iconic Places publication
We have published working paper #85: Iconic Places of the U.S. Forest Service: Values, Conditions, Challenges, and Opportunities. This paper covers the results from a survey of US Forest Service "iconic places," which include areas such as national monuments and national scenic, historic, and recreation areas. These areas have been specially designated for the unique qualities that they offer and which merit distinct management and protection. The survey investigated the benefits, challenges, opportunities, and information needs across iconic places.
Prescribed Fire Policy Barriers and Opportunities
We have been working with the Public Lands Policy Group at Colorado State University on a Joint Fire Science Program-funded project about barriers and opportunities to prescribed fire in the western US. Our first report covers findings from ~60 interviews with state and federal agencies, prescribed fire councils and others involved in prescribed fire work on national forest land or BLM land. The next phases will involve case studies of creative strategies to increase prescribed fire accomplishments, and spatial analysis of prescribed fire activity across the West. Read more about this project and related research in a recent story by 5280 magazine!
The second book from our "Forest Service and Communities" project is out. This project presents and visualizes data that can help the Forest Service and its partners better understand and communicate the social and economic contexts in which agency operates. Check out the project page for both the year 1 and year 2 books!: The Forest Service and Communities
Over the last decade, the Forest Service has been implementing a series of new initiatives designed to accelerate cross-boundary, collaborative, and integrated restoration. Our newest working paper looks at 2 of these initiatives: the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership and the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. As both initiatives reached the end of their initial funding cycle, we investigated what has worked, what hasn't, what factors affected success, what value the initiatives added, and lessons we can learn going forward. Read all about what we found in working paper # 81: Strategies for Success Under Forest Service Restoration Initiatives
Wildfires on rangelands across the west have become more numerous and severe. Since the 1990s, numerous Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) have emerged in Oregon and Idaho to improve fire management by organizing and authorizing rancher participation in fire suppression alongside federal agency firefighters. Our newest working paper reports on the establishment, functioning, successes, and challenges of the RFPA model through four case studies. Working Paper #80: Rangeland Fire Protection Associations: An Alternative Model for Wildfire Response
2 new working papers take a look at restoration on Oregon's eastside forests, measuring progress on goals, and monitoring investments. Check out what we found! Working Papers #78 and 79: http://ewp.uoregon.edu/publications/working
The concept of "resilience," which is used with increasing frequency among land management agencies, can be difficult to operationalize. Our newest working paper, #77: Resilience in Land Management Planning: Policy Mandates, Approaches, and Resources, summarizes various frameworks for planning for resilience, providing background and context to support individuals and groups working to implement resilience in various land management planning contexts.
We have recently conducted a series of assessments to help a couple Forest Collaboratives identify priorities, opportunites, and ongoing work efforts. Working Papers 74 (Investments and Local Capture on the Ochoco National Forest: Restoration and Timber Contracts, 2006–2015) and 75 (Restoration Contracts and Timber Sales on the Willamette National Forest, Trends and Local Capture, 2011-2015) examine recent restoration contract and timber sale trends and local capture on the Ochoco and Willamette National Forests, and Working Paper 76 (Collaborative Group Assessment: Self-Assessment Tool and Results for the Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative), offers a self-assessment to evaluate health and function within a collaborative group.
These and all of our working papers are available at: http://ewp.uoregon.edu/publications/working
The book documenting the first year of our work on the "Forest Service and Communities" project, in partnership with the Forest Service, is available. For more information and to download by chapter, see the project page at: http://ewp.uoregon.edu/USFScommunities
Check out our latest working paper, looking at how landowners with riparian property feel about potential changes to riparian buffer rules in Oregon: Landowner Perceptions of Potential Changes to Riparian Rules Under the Forest Practices Act in Oregon
Our newest working paper is out: Local Capacity for Integrated Forest and Wildfire Management
You can find this along with all of our papers on our publications page.
Working Paper #69: Oregon's State Wood Energy Team: A Grant Program Review
2 new working papers hot off the press—these working papers examine community-based organizations, and their role in rural development and job creation through land stewardship.
As "accelerated restoration" projects are implemented in Northeastern Oregon, local economic benefits depend on local contractor ability to receive and perform contracts. Our newest working paper examines contractor perspectives and capacity for increased restoration activity in the region. Download Working Paper #65: Implementation of Accelerated Restoration in Northeastern Oregon: Local Contractor Capacity and Perspectives.
New working paper, #64: Economic Outcomes from the U.S. Forest Service Eastside Strategy, investigates economic outcomes from the Eastside Restoration Strategy of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service. The Eastside Strategy includes several initiatives to increase the pace and scale of restoration on forests east of the Cascade Mountains in OR and WA.
Our most recent working paper, #63: Good Neighbor Authority in Oregon: Comparison of State and Federal Contracting Provisions, examines the similarities and differences for treatment of forest workers and small or disadvantaged businesses in Oregon between 2 enacted versions of the Good Neighbor Authority, which allows state agencies to perform restoration work on federal lands. This paper was a collaboration between Oregon Department of Forestry, EWP, and the UO Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center.
Check out our newest working paper, #62: A Third-Party Evaluation of the IRR Pilot: Report From Phase 3: Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement, on the final phase of our evaluation of the Integrated Resource Restoration Pilot that has been ongoing in Forest Service regions 1,3, and 4.
We have had a full handful of working papers come out in the last couple of months, including:
Check out these, and more on our working papers page!
We are happy to welcome the newest member of our team, Postdoctoral Research Scholar Heidi Huber-Stearns. Heidi’s interests are in natural resources social science, specializing in ecosystem services and forest and water policy, and strongly focused on interdisciplinary and actionable research. She is working on projects at EWP that focus on the intersection of ecology, economy, and governance across a range of issues relevant to forest disturbance and western public lands management. This includes projects on wildfire suppression, developing local workforce capacity, mountain pine beetle infestation, and social and economic impacts of public land management. Having grown up on a cattle ranch in Oregon, Heidi has returned from Colorado State University where she completed her PhD in Forest Sciences.
Check out this new article, "Re-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance," just published in Ecology and Society, an open-access (article is free to download) journal, that many of us at EWP have worked on over the last year:
This was part of the Wildfire Resilience project
We are hiring!!
EWP is looking to fill a primarily quantitative social science Faculty Research Associate position. Please see the full job description here!
New working paper, #56: Community Experiences with Wildfire: Actions, Effectiveness, Impacts, and Trends. This paper reports the results of 2 surveys with county official and community leaders in communities recently affected by large wildfires.
New publications! Check out Briefing Paper #61: "The Effectiveness of Biomass Policies in Supporting Business Investments in Oregon: Preliminary Results," and Working Paper #52: "Socioeconomic Monitoring Plan for the U.S. Forest Service's Eastside Restoration Efforts." Several additional publications will be out in the very near future as well- stay tuned!
We have released six new publications from our Community Wildfire Resilience research project: 1 working paper, 2 briefing papers, and 3 fact sheets. Find publications and read more on the project webpage.
Research assistant/ associate open pool:
Our research assistant/ associate pool for positions at the Institute for a Sustainable Environment is open through next year. The purpose of the announcement is to identify highly motivated researchers from a variety of social and social science disciplines interested in joining the Institute for a Sustainable Environment to assist with or lead nationally-relevant natural resource, environmental, and sustainability research. The posting can be viewed here. We hope to hear from you!
EWP releases final products from the Dry Forest Zone project: Working Paper # 48: Stewarding Forests and Communities: The Final Report of the Dry Forest Zone Project, and the final map packet of 2014 conditions in the Dry Forest Zone. Additional information about this project can be found on the project page.
EWP has also just released Working Paper #47: Evaluating the Integrated Resource Restoration Line Item: Results from Phase I which presents a third-party review of the Integrated Resource Restoration (IRR) budgetary approach that has been implemented on a pilot basis for three years in USFS Regions 1, 3, and 4.
To browse all of EWP's publications, visit our publications page.
February 28, 2014
EWP releases 3 new publications: 1 working paper and 2 briefing papers! Working Paper #46: The Impacts of the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Program in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Arizona examines the impacts and outcomes of a biomass grant program in two rural areas. Briefing Paper #53: Impacts of the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Program in Eastern Oregon summarizes the findings from this research for the Eastern Oregon area. And Briefing Paper 54: Surveys Find Support for EWEB's Voluntary Incentives Program reports the results of surveys sent to both landowners in the McKenzie River Watershed and water utility users whose drinking water comes from the McKenzie River, to gauge the willingness of customers and landowners participation in a program that would pay landowners to maintain healthy riparian forests. To browse all of EWP's publications, visit our publications page.
January 6, 2014
EWP releases Working Paper #45: Impacts of the Biomass Producer or Collector Tax Credit on Oregon's Wood Fuels Market and Economy: Update and Alternate Scenario Consideration. This paper updates & brings new considerations to our previous research (WP #32) on the impacts of a biomass tax credit on Oregon's economy and markets. To browse all of EWP's publications, visit our publications page.
August 15, 2013
EWP releases its second state restoration calculator: The "Economic Impacts of Restoration Calculator for Montana Counties." With the calculator, any agency or organization in Montana can understand the local economic activity resulting from forest and watershed restoration projects in their state, including predicted employment, wages, and overall impact. Check out our calculators–and many other tools for the restoration economy–on our restoration tools page.
August 6, 2013
EWP releases Working Paper #44–Forest and Watershed Restoration in Linn County, Oregon: Economic Impacts, Trends, and Recommendations, which provides the results of an ecosystem workforce assessment for the Sweet Home All-Lands Collaborative (SHALC), examines trends in restoration activity, and offers a series of recommendations to increase the impacts of restoration work in the area.
May 13, 2013
EWP releases 4 briefing papers for one of its "payments for ecosystem services" (PES) projects:
This project looks at how family forest and ranch owners are prospering from protecting and enhancing ecosystem services on their land. Learn more about the project here. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
February 26, 2013
EWP releases the 2013 Dry Forest Investment Zone Map Packet (7.6mb). The maps look at current conditions in the DFZ including collaborative groups, the community capacity and land stewardship program, rural development and cooperative program spending, stewardship contracting acres treated, contracts for restoration-related work, unemployment rate and trends, the wood-to-energy market, and more. For more information on the Dry Forest Zone, visit the project page.
December 6, 2012
EWP releases the final products for its "Economic Impacts of Large Wildfires" project. The project analyzes the effects of large wildfires on local labor markets and examines how fire suppression spending may mediate these effects. The main findings and all products (5 working papers and 5 briefing papers) can be found on the project page here.
November 26, 2012
EWP is seeking a full-time post-doctoral scholar in biomass and natural resource policy. This scholar will conduct research on two interdisciplinary woody biomass energy policy studies as well as other natural resource policy projects. Requires Ph.D. in a social science field such as natural resource social science, economics, geography, political science, anthropology, or other related field; and excellent writing skills and high English proficiency. Prefer scholar with research interests and experience in applied policy analysis and natural resource social science; general statistical skills; and proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese. Application review will begin Jan 1, 2013. For additional information or to apply visit the UO Jobs page
September 12, 2012
EWP releases Briefing Paper #44: Economic Effects of Large Fires: Application to the Cold Springs Fire (10.6mb), which describes the suppression spending and employment impacts of the Cold Springs wildfire and other fires in southern Washington.
September 7, 2012
EWP releases Working Paper #40: Federal Investments in Natural Resource-Based Economic Development in Oregon, which analyzes USDA Forest Service and Rural Development investments in the state in recent years. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
September 7, 2012
EWP releases two studies about community-based organizations in natural resource management. Working Paper #39: Community-Based Natural Resource Management in Oregon: a Profile of Organizational Capacity describes the financial, human, and partnership capacities of these groups; and Working Paper #38: The Social and Livelihood Benefits of USDA Forest Service Agreements with Community-Based Organizations examines the benefits that community-based organizations can create when working with the Forest Service. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
September 7, 2012
EWP releases Economic Development and Sustainable Forest Stewardship in the Dry Forest Zone: a Mid-Term Report, which examines the impacts and accomplishments of the Dry Forest Zone project at its halfway point. Go to our Dry Forest Zone page to learn more about this project.
June 29, 2012
EWP releases three new resources to help integrate social and economic benefits into ecological restoration on public lands. Developing Socioeconomic Performance Measures Related to the Watershed Condition Framework outlines strategies for developing new social and economic performance measures related to the Forest Service's Watershed Condition Framework and restoration on public lands more generally. Two Quick Guides provide strategies for enhancing collaboration and local economic benefit from restoration work: A Quick Guide for Incorporating Collaboration into the Watershed Condition Framework; and A Quick Guide for Creating High-Quality Jobs Through Restoration on National Forests.
April 13, 2012
EWP releases Working Paper 34: The Economic Impacts of Oregon's South Coast Restoration Industry. This study examines forest and watershed restoration activity on Oregon's South Coast, and suggests ways to increase community benefits and business capacity. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
December 7, 2011
EWP releases Working Paper 32: Impacts of the Biomass Producer or Collector Tax Credit on Oregon's Wood Fuels Market and Economy, which suggests that a state tax credit to facilitate biomass utilization has helped support Oregon jobs and a competitive wood fuels market. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
November 17, 2011
EWP releases Working Paper 33: Fire science needs in the Pacific Northwest, which describes fire science use and delivery needs in the diverse community of wildfire managers and practitioners. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
October 25, 2011
EWP releases Briefing Paper 33: Impacts of the Biomass Producer or Collector Tax Credit on Oregon's Wood Fuels Market and Economy. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.
September 13, 2011
EWP releases two working papers: Working Paper 30: The Lost Summer: Community Experiences of Large Wildfires in Trinity County, California and Working Paper 31: Fire Suppression Costs and Impacts of the 2008 Wildfires in Trinity County, California present results of a case study on the economic impacts of wildfires on rural communities. Go to publications to browse all of EWP's working and briefing papers.