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Meridian Institute

Journal Highlights Meridian’s Collaborative Approach to Addressing Conflict in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A recent journal article in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations profiles a Meridian project that brought multiple parties together to solve a decades-old conflict over old growth timber resources in the country’s largest national forest. Read more:https://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/hjsr/vol1/iss40/8.

Over a period of 18 months, Meridian convened representatives from the environmental sector, timber industry, state and local government, Native Alaskan communities, and other forest users to develop recommendations for an amendment to the Tongass National Forest Management Plan that could help make the transition from old growth to young growth timber management in an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable way.

Through skilled facilitation provided by the Meridian team, the diverse stakeholder group reached a landmark consensus agreement on recommendations for forest management, and several members continue to be involved to ensure successful implementation – translating the recommendations into on-the-ground changes.

As old growth timber is phased out, and the timber industry works to identify markets for emerging young growth resources, collaborative approaches like this one can help ensure that projects bring value to the region, prevent escalation of conflict that may lead to litigation of projects, and ensure that community members can voice their concerns to federal agencies in a productive and meaningful way.