Driftless Forest Network: Lots of moving parts to landowner engagement

The Driftless Forest Network project is a novel living experiment that seeks to engage and empower landowners and to create an integrated support structure for them. It is has lots of moving parts. We (Jerry Greenberg, Alanna Koshollek, and I) do our best to describe all these in a recently submitted paper for an upcoming conference proceedings. Here’s the abstract with the paper attached below (pdf).

The Driftless Forest Network (DFN) is a collaboration of local, state and national organizations working together to increase landowner engagement in the Driftless Area of Southwestern Wisconsin (USA). The region is home to nearly 32,000 family forest owners that collectively own 825,000 ha. DFN’s objectives are threefold.
  1. Develop and implement tools and strategies to increase private family forest owner engagement toward active forest management.
  2. Create capacity to sustain and enhance relationships among resource professionals and owners over time.
  3. Evaluate DFN activities toward a systematic understanding of their efficacy and applicability both within the Driftless Area and beyond.
In this paper, we outline the breadth and functioning of the initiative that include My Wisconsin Woods and a collaborative network supported by a knowledge system. We also describe central role of developmental evaluation to answer key operational and policy questions. Overall, one can envision the DFN as a learning laboratory, in which we apply research findings, experiential knowledge, and continuous data collection to collaboratively and adaptively engage landowners to increase learning and land management.
Jerry will be presenting this paper at the IUFRO 2012 Small-scale Forestry Conference: Science for solutions to be held 24-27 September 2012 in Amherst, MA.
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