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Sharon Friedman, US Forest Service, stfgoldenco@gmail.com (Presenter)

 

The "New Century of Forest Planning" blog was established to support discussion and learning about the Forest Service planning rule, with a mix of practitioners and academics. With time and the interests of contributors, it has expanded into discussions of a broad variety of forest policy topics. The original idea was to try out blogging as an approach to traditional Extension in the policy arena. The first conundrum is that bloggers are born not made, and therefore a blog seems to be intrinsically organic and unmanageable. The second conundrum is that people who work everyday don't really have time to post and contribute, and in some cases there is a tension between speaking for their organization and speaking for themselves, yet they are the ones with the greatest knowledge that needs to be tapped into. One contribution of the blog has been to explore controversies that are too complex to be handled by traditional media. The second is been to step outside the framing of an issue that is espoused by a certain group and point out that framing is a choice open to all. The third, as intended, is to talk between those who make policy and those who experience it working on the ground. The fourth is to provide a place for comparing FS policies across regions and units. Some of the controversies include the role of litigation in FS projects, the good and bad of collaboration, and bark beetles and fire, and of course forest planning.