Policy Design to Support Forest Restoration: The Value of Focused Investment and Collaboration

TitlePolicy Design to Support Forest Restoration: The Value of Focused Investment and Collaboration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSchultz, CA
Secondary AuthorsMcIntyre, KB
Tertiary AuthorsCyphers, L
Subsidiary AuthorsKooistra, C, Ellison, A, Moseley, C
Start Page512
Keywordscollaborative governance, forest governance, policy design, Scale mismatch, technical reports and journal articles

To address rapid change and complex environmental management challenges, governance approaches must support collective action across actors and jurisdictions, and planning at appropriate spatial extents to affect ecological processes. Recent changes in U.S. national forest policy incorporate new tools to facilitate collaborative landscape restoration, providing an opportunity to examine the relationship between policy design and governance change. Based on 151 interviews with agency personnel and partners, and a survey of 425 agency staff members, we investigated how two new policy approaches affected the governance of forest restoration and also looked at the other factors that most significantly affected policy implementation. Our findings reveal that, under these policies, multi-year funding commitments to specific landscapes, combined with requirements to work collaboratively, resulted in larger scales of planning, improved relationships, greater leveraged capacity, and numerous innovations compared to the past. A history of collaborative relationships, leadership, and agency capacity were the most significant variables that affected the implementation of policies designed to support collaborative landscape restoration. Our findings suggest that policies that provide focused investment to undertake landscape approaches to restoration, along with specific requirements for interagency and partner collaboration, are yielding positive results and may represent a new era in forest policy in the United States.