Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Planning Professor Releases Forest Management Book

Associate Professor William Butler speaks at a Policy Pub in 2017.

Associate Professor of Environmental Planning in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning William Butler is the co-editor of a book released this month that addresses what has been learned from a new collaborative method of managing national forests.

“A New Era for Collaborative Forest Management: Policy and Practice Insights from the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program” (Routledge, 2019) contains writings and study findings of great interest to researchers in natural resource management and environmental planning and forestry, as well as practitioners and policy makers involved in forest and ecosystem restoration and, more broadly, in collaborative natural resource management.

In preparing the book, Butler brought scholars and practitioners to the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at FSU to explore the policy and practice implications of a nationwide forest restoration effort, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP).

The CFLRP, begun in 2009, represents a bold experiment in public land management in the U.S. and has become a model for a new approach to collaborative environmental governance and management. The U.S. Forest Service project aims to encourage ecological, economic and social sustainability; leverage local resources with national and private resources; reduce wildfire management costs; achieve ecological and watershed health objectives; and encourage utilization of forest restoration by-products to offset treatment costs, benefit local rural economies and improve forest health.

Butler and co-editor Courtney Schultz of Colorado State University were among the first researchers to engage in social sciences research on the CFLRP starting in 2010. They contributed and co-authored several of the articles included in the book.

“Our purpose in bringing scholars and practitioners together was to assess how our research could contribute practical lessons to policy makers and participants in collaborative forest management,” Butler said of the book’s genesis. “That is the primary contribution of the book from our view, and it has contributed to enhancing collaborative governance theory as well.”

Butler has been deeply involved in forestry work for some time. In 2016, he attended the National Collaborative Forest Restoration Workshop hosted by the U.S. Forest Service in Denver. He spoke on two panels to deliver CFLRP research. Butler helped organize the workshop as a member of the advisory committee and served on the keynote panel for a day-long workshop focused on cross collaborative learning within CFLRP.

Butler’s ongoing research examines how the Forest Service and groups focused on public land projects are navigating the transition from planning to implementation and monitoring in a program that requires a high degree of collaboration. His work related to this project has been published in the Journal of Forestry, Environmental Management, and the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

“A New Era for Collaborative Forest Management” is available as hard cover or e-book at this link.