Themes and Current Projects


  • Evaluating socioeconomic impacts of natural resource policy on rural communities, businesses, and workers;
  • Understanding roles of community-based organizations and collaboration in natural resource governance, sustainable rural development, and resilience;
  • Developing strategies for conservation-based economic development in communities surrounded by public lands;
  • Educating policy makers about the effects of policy on rural community wellbeing and strategies for integrating ecological health and economic vitality;


Current Projects:


Community-Based Organizations, Social Networks, and Conservation: Strategies for Rural Economic Development in the West
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

To understand the role of community-based organizations and their social networks in pursuing natural resource-based economic development in communities surrounded by public lands. Collaborators: North Carolina State University


Community Capacity and Institutional Mechanisms in Wildfire Management
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

To understand the choices that national forest managers make when planning hazardous fuels reduction and how those choices affect nearby rural communities.


Dry Forest Investment Zone
Sustainable Northwest/US Endowment for Forests and Communities/USDA Rural Development/Wallowa Resources/The Watershed Research and Training Center

To foster rural economic development through multiple strategies for sustainable forest stewardship. Strategies include broadening value streams for landowners, fostering woody biomass utilization, increasing community collaborative capacity, engaging with policy makers, and monitoring impacts. Our role is primarily in policy and monitoring.More. Collaborators: Sustainable Northwest, Wallowa Resources, Watershed Research and Training Center


Economic Effects of Large Wildfires 
Joint Fire Sciences Program (with the USDA Forest Service Northern and Rocky Mtn. Research Stations)

To determine the effects of large wildfires on rural labor markets during and after wildfires, and how local fire suppression spending may mitigate those effects.  More.Collaborators: USDA Forest Service Northern and Rocky Mountain Research Stations.


Enhancing the Capacity of Small and Medium-Sized Ranch and Forestry Operations to Prosper from Payments for Ecosystem Services 
Oregon State University/USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

To understand the barriers and opportunities for small forest and rangeland owners to receive payments for ecosystem services and the roles that community-based organizations are playing in assisting those opportunities; and to provide policy recommendations. Project webpageCollaborators: Oregon State University; Sustainable Northwest


Estimating the economic impacts of forest and watershed restoration and expanding the restoration jobs calculator
USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region and Meyer Fund for a Sustainable Environment

To expand study of the economic impacts of restoration beyond Oregon to other western states; use information to expand a restoration jobs calculator to other western states.


Integrating Rural Green Development
Compton Foundation

To educate policy makers about the socioeconomic effects of public lands policy on rural communities and offer recommendations. Provide leadership for the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition.


Implementing Hazardous Fuels Reduction from a Human Perspective
USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station

To identify how hazardous fuels reduction can be done in a way that maximizes the environmental, social, and economic benefits of fuels reduction projects on federal forestlands and in forest communities. More.


Northwest Fire Science Consortium
Pacific Northwest Research Station/Joint Fire Sciences Program

To develop a consortium to improve delivery of scientific information and tools to people engaged in wildfire and smoke management, and hazardous fuels reduction.Collaborators: Multiple people at Oregon State University, USDA Forest Service, Washington State University, and Sustainable Northwest


Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Bioenergy Development Across the Americas
Michigan Technological University, National Science Foundation

To understand the social, economic, and ecological impacts of biofuels development in US, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. Collaborators: Many universities in the US and case study countries


Understanding the Roles of Socioeconomic Vulnerability, Adaptive Capacity, and Mitigation in Determining Community Resilience to Large Wildfires
USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture

To build and test models to understand relationships between rural community resiliency and socioeconomic status, community adaptive capacity, and wildfire planning processes. Collaborators: Washington State University; University of Montana; University of Oregon Dept of Sociology and Community Service Center