A McIntire-Stennis supported project
Across the West, forests and communities interact with and are affected by issues that emerge from wildfires, state policies, and rural economic conditions.
This research project, led by Oregon State University Assistant Professor Mindy Crandall, aims to better understand the dynamic relationships that exist between forests and communities in the West – and uncover more information about active forest management. Generating more knowledge about these connections will help support decisions related to how we might best manage forests to provide ecosystem services, like carbon sequestration, and economic value to rural communities while dealing with wildfire risks.
Crandall is investigating how wildfires are affecting rural communities, inspired by large, catastrophic wildfires that have decimated human and forest communities. Crandall and collaborators with the U.S. Forest Service are looking into the relationship between socioeconomic factors and wildfire occurrence – and mapping the risk of wildfire to vulnerable communities.
Crandall is also looking into how the state regulates private forest practices and how forest landowners and stakeholders are impacted by and involved in, these decisions. She is examining how citizens’ involvement on advisory committees led to the development of political identity and she is documenting the state-level policies that affect private landowners across the United States.
Lastly, Crandall is examining the relationships between the forest industry and rural communities, where forests have been a major source of income and jobs for decades. Crandall wants to better understand the future of the forest industry and how it may play a role in supporting viable rural communities – especially as forests are increasingly managed for things like carbon sequestration. Along with collaborators, she is investigating how work in the new forest economy is distributed spatially and to disadvantaged populations, and how rural communities may be affected by transitions in forest management practices.
This research project will help inform forest management practices and policy decisions in the face of competing demands and increasing wildfire risk.
Crandall is collaborating with other groups, institutions and agencies including the United States Forest Service, Humboldt State University, University of Maine, University of Connecticut, James Madison University, University of Oregon, the Western Rural Development Center, and the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition.
The McIntire-Stennis program, a unique federal-state partnership, cultivates and delivers forestry and natural resource innovations for a better future. By advancing research and education that increases the understanding of emerging challenges and fosters the development of relevant solutions, the McIntire-Stennis program has ensured healthy resilient forests and communities and an exceptional natural resources workforce since 1962.