AuthorGarcia, Margot Yvonne Weaver
KeywordsForest reserves -- Planning -- Citizen participation.
United States. Forest Service.
Coronado National Forest (Ariz. and N.M.) -- Planning -- Citizen participation.
AdvisorBrickler, Stanley K.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study has been an investigation of citizen participation in USDA Forest Service land management planning for the Coronado National Forest (CNF) in southeastern Arizona. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this research combined concepts from the fields of sociology, political science, natural resource planning and management to develop methods for obtaining citizen input, promoting ethnic minority participation, and following Forest Service use of public comment in the planning process. Data from existing questionnaires and a short questionnaire developed specifically for planning forums were used to investigate forms of participation, determine which publics participate and ascertain levels of interest in natural resource planning. Participation on the CNF core planning team provided observations on use of the publics' input. Despite a 20 percent Mexican-American population surrounding the CNF, there was essentially no ethnic minority participation in planning forums designed to gather public issues. Data support the thesis that minorities did not participate because they did not generally think that natural resource questions were important and did not support land planning. Ethnic minorities will come to meetings when they are directly affected, despite a low sense of efficacy. Ethnic minorities had equal access to information about planning forums; however, very few were on the mailing list because they did not respond to a letter inviting them to be on the CNF mailing and generally did not answer requests for public comment. The Forest Service used the public comments received as the basis for writing issue statements which set the parameters for integrating land and resource planning. Results were reported back to the public for review and issue statements were subsequently revised as a result of citizen and other agency comment. Citizen participation is one way to overcome skepticism of the Forest Service resource management performed in the name of the public interest. Different syles of decision-making imply different roles for citizen participation. Elections are decided by voting and legislative votes are influenced by lobbying. In a bureaucracy, incremental decision-making suggests citizen participation in order to map the political terrain, satisficing encourages interest group negotiation, and the synoptic approach wants facts from the publics. To count votes when decisions are being made to satisfice adds irrelevant data that frustrates both decision-maker and public. Comprehensive and useful public comment can be obtained from a structured process that is appropriate to the decision-making style the agency is using. Citizen views are part of the decision, but so also are economics, legal requirements, and resource constraints. Only in elections do a majority of citizens who vote, win. Bureaucratic decisions are not so neat in terms of popular will. But that is inherent in a government run by three branches, the legislative, executive, and judicial, in a complex society.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources