Rethinking Public Participation in Resource Management: Wild Mushroom Policy on the Deschutes National Forest

EPA Grant Number: U915176
Title: Rethinking Public Participation in Resource Management: Wild Mushroom Policy on the Deschutes National Forest
Investigators: McLain, Rebecca J.
Institution: University of Washington - Seattle
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: September 1, 1997 through September 1, 1999
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Cultural Geography/Anthropology


This research project critiques public participation opportunities on federally managed forests; and (2) provides recommendations for restructuring those processes so as to encompass a broader range of user groups in decision making. An analysis of commercial wild mushroom politics on the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon serves as a focal point for examining the question: "What barriers and opportunities do politically and economically marginalized actors face in having input into forest management decisions?"


Due to the intertwining of factors affecting forest management participation, an ethnographic approach was adopted to examine this question. Participant observation of wild mushroom harvesting activities during the spring of 1997 and 1998 and of wild mushroom management meetings sponsored by the Forest Service in 1997 and 1998 providedallowed the researcher to gather information about the informal and formal ways in which harvesters interact with forest decision makers. Semi-structured interviews, with 30 harvesters and 20 Forest Service employees, provided detailed information about the structure of public involvement processes at the study site and about harvester experiences in forest decision making processes. An examination of Forest Service decision memos, Forest Service commercial mushroom permits, and local newspaper articles on forest management and wild mushroom harvesting provided a historical context for understanding how wild mushroom politics at the study site have changed overduring the past decade.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, political ecology, power, participatory management, sustainable forestry., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, State, Anthropology, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, policy making, Oregon, collaborative resolution, Deschutes national Forest, environmental decision making, decision making, forest conservation decisions, forest reources, community based environmental planning, environmental policy, community participation, wild mushroom policy, forests, public policy

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • Final