Evolving institutions of environmental governance: the collaborative implementation of stewardship contracts by the USDA Forest Service
Mattor, Katherine Marie Detmar, author
Cheng, Antony S., advisor
Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, committee member
Dean, Thomas, committee member
Taylor, Peter, committee member
Collaborative forest management policies are increasingly being enacted in the U.S. Increased pressure to implement collaborative forest management processes emphasizes the need to understand the extent to which such policies are being adopted, the factors influencing their implementation, and how well these efforts are meeting policy intentions. This dissertation provides practical and theoretical insight to the adoption of collaborative forest management approaches by focusing on the implementation of stewardship-end-result contracting (stewardship contracting). A mixed-methods research design was used to systematically assess the collaborative implementation of stewardship contracts by the USDA Forest Service (USFS). The first phase of this research employed a statistical analysis of the adoption of USFS stewardship contracts from 1999 to 2011 to provide a foundational understanding of its use. This analysis identified consistent adoption of stewardship contracts across USFS regions, with a significant increase in the number of contracts and associated acres during this time period. The second phase of this research statistically analyzed the levels of collaboration associated with USFS stewardship contracts. This large-N analysis determined collaboration has a significant role in meeting stewardship contract objectives. Key process indicators identified in the collaborative governance literature - the number of interests involved, the amount of outreach used, the roles of the community, and who initiated the project - have a strong association with the levels of collaboration. This analysis identified a significant variation in the levels of collaborative stewardship contract implementation across USFS regions. The third phase of this research utilized a qualitative multiple-case study approach to build upon the previous statistical analyses and to attain an in depth understanding of the contextual factors influencing the levels of collaboration associated with stewardship contracts in the USFS Rocky Mountain Region. The results reveal a combination of institutional, community, and individual attributes are essential for the use of collaboration in USFS stewardship contracting processes. These attributes include guidance and support from the USFS, high levels of social capital within the community, and strong leadership from individuals within both the agency and community. The results indicate the collaborative forests identified and achieved a greater number of objectives than the non-collaborative forests and thereby confirm previous findings of this dissertation in which collaborative stewardship contracting processes achieved more forest management and community social and economic objectives than non-collaborative processes. Collaboration therefore has a critical role in achieving the policy intentions of stewardship contracting. This dissertation advances the existing collaborative governance literature by quantitatively analyzing collaborative process components and outcomes across a large population of similar efforts, while providing a detailed qualitative analysis of the factors influencing the adoption of collaborative processes and the associated outcomes. Additional comprehensive evaluations of the adoption of collaboration, the factors associated with its use, and its role in achieving the policy intentions are necessary to determine the first- and second-tier influences and outcomes of collaborative processes. Such comprehensive evaluations of collaboration can improve its application in policy and management and prevent it from being falsely identified as a panacea to address all social-ecological management issues.
Includes bibliographical references.
Includes bibliographical references.