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Quantitative Conservation Conflict Management: an Application to the Yellowwood Logging Controversy
Conservation conflicts, commonly defined as “situations that occur when two or more parties with strongly held opinions clash over conservation objectives, and when one party is perceived to assert its interests at the expense of another” (Redpath et al., 2013) are expected within the realm of public land management. Conservation conflicts have been an increasing issue worldwide as the consumption of natural resources can directly oppose conservation efforts. Quantitative and qualitative approaches have been adopted in similar studies to mitigate or resolve conservation conflicts. This thesis focuses on a 2017 conflict over logging in Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana. The Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation (SMCE) framework was applied in this thesis to examine economic, ecological, and recreational criteria from multiple stakeholders' perspectives and understand how a retrospective assessment can contribute to improved conflict resolution. The study follows four steps: conducting an institutional analysis, defining criteria and potential alternative scenarios, generating an impact matrix through surveys and interviews, and aggregating results for cross-scenario comparison. The design of these steps attempts to engage stakeholders in the decision-making process and increase transparency. The ranking results reveal a clear preference for the “Shelterwood Cuts” alternative, indicating that different actions may have been a better solution. Although the methodology alone cannot make decisions, it can aid the decision-maker in creating a solution to a conservation conflict by providing guidance and bringing attention to the aspects of a conflict that require change.
- Master of Science
- Forestry and Natural Resources
- West Lafayette