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UC plays a crucial facilitating role in the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project


The 2004 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment adopted by the U.S. Forest Service called for using adaptive management — management through deliberate experimentation — to carry out treatments to improve forest health and reduce fire severity. The Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP), begun in 2005 and ending this year, has developed, implemented and evaluated participatory adaptive management processes in two national forests for applying fuels management treatments based on strategically placed patterns of tree thinning. SNAMP participants include federal and state agencies, the University of California and many members of the public. UC Cooperative Extension staff members have played an important role in facilitating the participation of public stakeholders. In 2010, a survey showed that stakeholders valued the learning opportunities of the project, especially appreciating the open discussions, public input and face-to-face contact with scientists. Despite the institutional limits to sharing decision making, an environment conducive to the social learning characteristic of collaborative adaptive management projects was created. The SNAMP process may lead to long-term relationships and knowledgeable stakeholders who can support the Forest Service's use of the project findings after UC's role ends.

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