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Ecosystem Management & the Evolution of Ideas at the US Forest Service


In the early 1990s, ecosystem management was touted as an emerging new paradigm for US national forest planning, but by the end of the decade the phrase had virtually disappeared from public discussion of the subject. The purpose of this article is to understand what legacy, if any, that ecosystem management left on national forest management. While Klyza (1996) has arguably offered the leading viewpoint on how policy ideas influence change in national forest management, this article relies more heavily on insights from the work of Carstensen (2011) and other scholars who view policy idea change as an evolutionary process. Ultimately, it is concluded that ecosystem management was one component of a longer-term evolution in ideas that culminated most recently in the promulgation of the 2012 forest planning rules.

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