What is the Ecosystem Workforce Program?

What is the Ecosystem Program?

The Ecosystem Workforce Program is built on the fundamental belief that ecology, economy, and governance are intimately interconnected. We believe that by understanding the relationships between ecological health, economic well-being, and a vibrant democracy, we create the building blocks of a sustainable society. We serve rural forest communities and other people that face limited economic opportunity, political exclusion, and/or degraded landscapes. The EWP was founded in 1994 to support the development of a high-skill, high-wage ecosystem management industry in the Pacific Northwest. Since that time, we have fostered forest-based sustainable rural development in forest communities by developing restoration workforce training curriculum and supporting local quality jobs programs in forest communities. We have supported community-based forestry programs through applied research projects, such as understanding the distribution of benefits from federal forest management and the working conditions of forest workers. We also support community-based forestry by working collaboratively with forest communities to educate national policy makers about impacts of forest policy on forest communities and landscapes.

Current Research: We undertake research and monitoring about the ecosystem management industry, community-based forestry, federal land management, and the successes and challenges of innovation. Some of the results of this research can be found on our publications page.

Policy Education: We foster strategic policy making and decision making by disseminating the results of our research and monitoring in collaboration with community-based forestry organizations. The Ecosystem Workforce Program is a core group member of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition and a member of the National Forest Restoration Collaborative.

Community Resources: By assisting natural resource management agencies and rural communities with assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring, we seek to increase the quantity and quality of local-level forest and watershed restoration jobs across the Pacific Northwest. Our resources page offer tools to communities, agencies, businesses, and workers.

Publications: Together with our collaborators we develop publications with two primary goals: (1) educating policy makers and practitioners and (2) contributing to scholarly and practical discourse through dissemination of EWP research. Publications with a policy education goal are found under our Briefing Papers section and are short 2-4 page documents. Working Papers provide the details of EWP research and Other Publications include external publications authored by EWP faculty and colleagues.

Student Experience: We provide graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Oregon with experiential education through work study employment, paid and unpaid internships, independent study, and thesis advising. These opportunities advance students' understanding and technical skills through participation in real projects.