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Dale Blahna, USDA Forest Service, dblahna@fs.fed.us (Presenter)
Stanley Asah, University of Washington, stasah@uw.edu

 

An ecosystem service identification project conducted on the Deschutes National Forest identified several new place-based categories of cultural ecosystem services and implications for taking an ecosystem services approach to forest management in general. This paper will address three misconceptions about using partnerships to advance ecosystem service goals in public land management. The first is that partnerships are not simply tools to help meet ecosystem service goals, but they are also a distinct form of ecosystem service. Partnerships themselves are a type of cultural ecosystem service and by entering into public engagement and partnership arrangements to help promote or advance ecological services, a national forest can help enhance multiple forms of ecosystem services simultaneously. Another misconception is that recreation access and ecological protection related services are separate and often incompatible goals. Partnerships that focus on recreation access or that lead to increased human use of natural areas can also have positive ecological outcomes, especially when viewed in a regional context and if visitor concentration outcomes are emphasized. And finally, in order to apply an ecosystem service framework, process questions are as important to address as content questions. The implementation of an ecosystem services approach to management is as important as understanding and measuring the actual services. We will discuss some guidelines for applying an ecosystem service framework, but there will always be specific contextual factors that must also be considered for developing and implementing ecosystem service based partnerships.