Federal Register

USFS Letter

USDA Press Releases

Meet the Members


Index of Documents

Working groups

The Public Forum

Related Links

Dr. K. Norman Johnson, Chair

Oregon State University


Dr. James Agee

University of Washington


Dr. Robert Beschta

Oregon State University


Dr. Virginia Dale

Oak Ridge National Lab.

Oak Ridge, TN


Dr. Linda Hardesty

Washington State Univ.


Dr. James Long

Utah State University


Dr. Larry Nielsen

Pennsylvania State Univ.


Dr. Barry Noon

Colorado State University


Dr. Roger Sedjo

Resources for the Future

Washington, DC


Dr. Margaret Shannon

Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs

Syracuse, NY


Dr. Ronald Trosper

Northern Arizona Univ.


Charles Wilkinson

University of Colorado


Dr. Julia Wondolleck

University of Michigan


DATE: January 28, 1998

TO: The Committee of Scientists

FROM: K. Norman Johnson, Committee Chair

SUBJECT: Denver Committee Meeting Notes

Enclosed are the notes from the second meeting of the Committee of Scientists Federal Advisory Committee held January 22-23, 1998 in Denver, Colorado. Our next meetings are planned for February 12-13 in Seattle, Washington; and February 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, other meeting dates were discussed as noted at the end of this memo. Times and places will be announced in the Federal Register.

The purpose of the meeting in Denver was to hear from USFS Region 2; USFS RPA; guest speakers John McGuire, Jim Giltmier, and Bob Wolf; the public; and the Western Governors’ Association. In addition, the Committee discussed key principles by discipline, future meeting dates, and operational procedures.

Enclosed you will find:

Attendance from January 22-23, 1998

Meeting minutes

Meeting schedule

Potential agenda for February 12-13, 1998 in Seattle.

Thank you for your participation in the meeting.


JANUARY 22-23, 1998, DENVER



Dr. Norm Johnson, Chair

Audience *Made public comments.

Dr. Jim Agee

Tom Troxel, IFIA*

Dr. Bob Beschta

Mary Flanderka, Black Hills Women in Timber*

Dr. Virginia Dale

Mike Anderson, The Wilderness Society*

Dr. Linda Hardesty

Cara Nelson, NRDC*

Dr. Jim Long

Greg Aplet, The Wilderness Society*

Dr. Larry Nielsen

Robert Dewey, Defenders of Wildlife*

Dr. Barry Noon

Diane Hoppe, Intermt. Forest Industry Assoc.*

Dr. Roger Sedjo

Rocky Smith, Colorado Envirn. Coalition*

Dr. Ron Trosper

Ted Zukosky, Land & Water Fund of Rockies*

Charles Wilkinson, Prof. of Law

Suzanne Jones, The Wilderness Society*

Dr. Julia Wondolleck

Kirk Cunningham, Sierra Club, Colorado*

Bob Cunningham, Designated Federal Official

Jean Smith, S. Rockies Ecosystem Project*


Chris Liggett, USFS Region 2

Guest Speakers

Dave Barone, USFS Ecosystem Mgmt.

Tom Thompson, USFS R2, Dep. Reg. Forester

Joan Friedlander, USFS Region 2

DeAnn Zwight, USFS Region 2

Paul Momper, USFS Region 2

Ellen Frament, USFS Region 2

Lois Witte, USGA OGC

Rick Cables, USFS Region 2

Ann Boelter, IENR U. Wyoming

Jerry Ingersoll, USFS Region 2

Chris Risbrudt, USFS Planning

Thurman Wilson, USFS Region 2

Bob Bierer, AF&PA

Sam Burns, Fort Lewis College

Joe Duda

Ron Pugh, USFS Region 2

Jerry Aboud

Howard Sargent, USFS Region 2

Dee Hines

John Rupe, USFS Region 2

Robert Clark

John McGuire

Kevin Geiger

Bob Wolf


Jim Giltmier


Bruce Flinn, Western Gov. Assoc.


Kathy Maloney, USFS RPA


Committee Staff Support


Harriet Plumley, USFS


Ann Carlson, USFS


Jonathan Stephens, USFS


Joanne Hildreth, USFS


Overview of the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region (Region 2)

Tom Thompson, Deputy Regional Forester, gave an overview of Region 2, which includes Colorado, eastern Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska. Thompson discussed new issues and value shifts that were not considered during development of the original NFMA regulations. He also discussed the Forest Service’s criticisms, concerns, and choices.

DeAnn Zwight, Regional Planner, provided comments on the 1982 NFMA Regulations and recommendations for consideration by the Committee. A Regional Analyst and several Forest representatives presented information to the Committee about current issues and projects related to forest planning. Presentations included three revised Forest Plans on the Rio Grande, Arapaho/Roosevelt, and Black Hills National Forests.

Words of Wisdom from John McGuire,

Chief of the Forest Service during Formation of Original NFMA Regulations

Chief McGuire provided background on events leading to the establishment of the National Forest Management Act and subsequent regulations. He spoke of the faith in science to settle issues not resolvable by legislation.

Chief McGuire recommended that the Committee:

  • Look at the section of NFMA related to Findings;
  • Recommend reforms (even beyond Chartered mission) for appeals, trust fund, etc.;
  • Keep demographics in mind;
  • Consider changes such as growing demands of the population;
  • Don’t underestimate technological advances such as those in molecular biology;
  • Consider that federal ownership often includes only land surfaces and not subsurface rights, and consider whether consolidating federal lands is more important than maintaining private lands within Forest boundaries.
  • Beware of apocalyptic forecasts.

Comments from Bob Wolf

Bob Wolf was a member of the Congressional Research Service during the passage of NFMA. Mr. Wolf spoke to the Committee about why the Forest Service had a Committee of Scientists draft the original NFMA regulations, and the results of this process. The Forest Service should draft the revised regulations so they will have ownership of them. He noted that we should recognize the interdependence of life forms - a principle to be ignored at our own peril. He pointed out that private range and forests dominate in the United States, but people believe they are on national forests. The Committee should look at financial management of the Forest Service.

Comments from Jim Giltmier, Pinchot Institute

Jim Giltmier was a Congressional staffer during the development of NFMA. Mr. Giltmier quoted Einstein - "All science is conditional." We have learned more in the last 25 years than in all of previous history. He pointed out that spending $3 million on planning and taking up to seven years to complete a plan was not what the NFMA writers intended, and that separating planning from daily management of the Forests violates the spirit of the law. The private sector is struggling with how to do "strategic" planning, and determined that planning and day-to-day operations can’t be separated. Pay attention to the issue of how Forests are to provide accountability for results of their land management practices.

Public Comment Period

Twelve members of the public spoke to the Committee for five minutes each. These individuals then formed an impromptu panel and answered questions from the Committee for approximately one hour.

Comments from Bruce Flinn, Western Governors’ Association

The Association currently is lead by Governor Kitzhaber (Dem.) of Oregon, and vice is Governor Geringer (Rep.) of Wyoming. It represents 18 western states and territorial islands.

Mr. Flinn discussed the resolution adopted by the Governors in 1996 that provides their vision for planning. He described new models where states and local officials are brought into federal planning processes early, and other public participation and collaboration ideas. The Governors’ top priority is to reform the Endangered Species Act that could change federal land management significantly. The Governors prefer proactive conservation actions to prevent listings, which could link species management on state and private land to that on federal land.

Comments from Kathy Maloney, Forest Service RPA/GPRA

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1996 (GPRA) is intended to provide an accountability system for the Forest Service that brings the agency into line with the private sector. This Act supersedes the Resources Planning Act of 1974 (RPA). Under GPRA, the budget is driven by desired long-term results. These results will be driven by the national situation, corporate goals, and local issues.

Suggestions on the Mission of the Committee by the Scientists

(Individual Observations)

  • Share information in a mode more useful than academic paper publishing.
  • Prioritize expectations for results; set boundary conditions for COS.
  • Go beyond a simple report.
  • Avoid drafting regulations except for key sections, such as the diversity clause.
  • Rewrite Section 219.1 that is too general. Divide into two sections: a) Purpose (of national forest planning), and b) Principles (e.g. "A Forest Plan should be integrated with forest management.") Textual discussion to follow Principles section to provide context and intent. This should provide a roadmap on how to implement the regulations.
  • The first principle should cover the purpose of national forest planning in a way that captures the Forest Service mission. Check with Jim Lyons on this.
  • Another alternative for the product would be a short report with recommended changes to the regulations. This would be a list based on specific diagnoses of problems.
  • Develop a framework to incorporate changes in science, technology, & culture as they occur.
  • Develop affordable ways to build science into planning and national forest management.
  • Establish a common body of literature for COS (members provide set from own discipline).
  • Exchange curriculum vitae and put on the web site.
  • Identify problems with current regulations; identify changes to all four sets of regulations (1982, 3 proposed).
  • Develop recommendations for changes to the regulations based on the draft ‘final’ regs. (Norm request from Jim Lyons.)
  • Do not allow use of the Committee for approvals without their final words. (Norm will draft a statement for the Work Plan.)
  • Develop a Work Plan; Norm to draft prior to Seattle; Committee approve at Seattle.
  • Rather than responding to a broken system, put minds at philosophical ground zero and create the best we as a society can do in planning for natural resource management. Is there a precedent for widespread acceptable policy? Need a reality check on expectations (pleasing everyone). Carrying capacity is not just for cows. The idea that there is enough to go around if we divide the pie right is wrong. We are dealing with finite systems.
  • Successional process are difficult to document in the short run, for range lands in particular.
  • Determine how to make planning language cleaner; e.g. the words ‘forest’ and ‘science’ can be used several different ways. Develop neutral and representative language.
  • Capture the mission of the Forest Service in a Purpose section. Original COS intended that planning at the national forest level would include a vision for the forest. Build a process into the regulations.
  • Understand what we value in ecosystems in context of their dynamic character.
  • Develop Purpose and Principles section. Address public involvement models, e.g. preference aggregation, debate and persuade. Who to include, what types of public expression to use?
  • Avoid undue influence from Forest Service and others.
  • Focus on principles; some are specifically important, i.e. diversity.
  • Ecosystem management is a process and does not imply an end product.
  • Social and ecological objectives change faster than the landscape can keep up with. Manage by integrating natural and human disturbance (‘natural range of variability’).
  • Planning needs to be more spatially explicit, e.g. for wildlife habitat or fire management.
  • Adaptive management implies a level of specificity not expressed in the budget process.
  • Intermingled land ownership problem: should national forest lands be managed as buffers between intensively managed lands or in context of active management with cumulative effects that include state and tribal lands?


  • Deal with purpose and principles.
  • Identify bottlenecks that inhibit grand vision.
  • Provide a second opinion to the proposed regulations, i.e. whether they meet scientific principles and are consistent with ecosystem management.
  • Attain review by peers in scientific community, Forest Service, and public as COS proceeds. May have formal review as well.

Scientists’ Key Principles Discussion and Handouts

Virginia Dale provided a summary of "Ecological Principles and Guidelines for Managing the Use of Land" being developed by the Ecological Society of America’s Land Use Committee.

Julia Wondolleck provided a one-page summary of "Principles of Effective Collaboration in the Public Sector."

Norm Johnson discussed a comparison of multiple-use, sustained-yield management with ecosystem management, and key elements of strategic planning under ecosystem management. He provided his paper, "Integrating Wildfire into Strategic Planning for Sierra Nevada Forests.

Jim Agee passed around a one-page summary of issues that make planning difficult and their implications.

Ron Trosper gave the group his paper, "Multicriterion Decision-Making in a Tribal Context."

Draft Meeting Schedule

Meeting 1 - December 19, 1997; Location: Chicago

Meeting 2 - January 22-23, 1998; Location: Denver (Region 2)

Meeting 3 - February 12-13, 1998; Location: Seattle (Region 6)

Meeting 4 - February 24-25, 1998; Location: Atlanta (Region 8)

Meeting 5 - March 3-5, 1998; Location: Sacramento (Region 5)

Meeting 6 - March 31 - April 1 ; 1998; Missoula (Regions 1/4)

Meeting 7 - April 14-15, 1998; Albuquerque (Region 3)

Meeting 8 - April 22-23, 1998; Boston (Region 9)

NOTE: This schedule likely to change in order to fit in a meeting in Washington, DC.

Meeting Minutes from Chicago - Approved.

A January 23, 1998 Letter from Chief Dombeck to USFS Employees was read to the Committee.

Potential Agenda for Seattle, February 12-13, 1998

Strategic Planning in Region 6

Strategic Planning in Region 10

State and Local Government Presentations

Federal Agency Presentations

Oral Comments from Public

Forest Service Chiefs - Max Peterson and Jack Ward Thomas

Tribal Presentations

Committee Business