A Systems Approach to Seedling Establishment on Degraded Rangeland: Managing Ecological Processes Driving Recruitment Bottlenecks (Brunson)
Range and Meadow Forage Management Research
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Quantify social factors that influence restoration decision making.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The approach is use surveys and interviews to quantify the social factors that influence the restoration decision making process.
Progress was made on related Objective #3 of the parent project, "Validate the improved EBIPM framework for use in cheatgrass and medusahead-dominated or threatened ecosystems". We measured the relative importance of social, psychological, institutional and economic barriers to implementation of restoration projects and evaluate the degree to which importance may vary across geographic areas. In initial interviews, we discovered that a key barrier to innovation is concern that novel proposals will be opposed by interest groups through their use of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. A thorough content analysis of comments on relevant NEPA documents for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reseeding/restoration projects in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah for 2008-2011 was conducted in 2013. The outcome of this analysis revealed that relatively few activist groups account for well over half of the total comments. Those groups typically do not express concerns about the content of specific proposals but rather challenge the adequacy of BLM analyses or data. The issue raised most often is livestock grazing. When individuals protest, it’s almost always to oppose livestock grazing or ask for more consideration for wild horses. We found little concern about seeding timing or methods, but some preference for using native vs. non-native species in reseeding efforts. Completion of the project is on track. We are nearing the end of a general public study and will conduct a land manager study in 2014. Final results are expected in 2014.