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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

William Brennan

First Committee Member

Edie Sparks

Second Committee Member

Caroline Cox

Third Committee Member

Bill Swagerty


There are two prevailing views today about our forests and natural resources. Both views are considered the "right" view, each position comprising a set of values by which we make decisions and choices about using our natural resources. The "dominant world view," is anthropocentric and agriculturally based, with a strong belief that we can "fix" environmental problems through the use of technology. The key result of this view is a belief in the efficiency of economic expansion and its continued growth. The second view maintains we are part of nature, not masters of it, and that we have developed an arrogant attitude toward nature, believing we have the right to do as we wish regardless of the consequences. The result of this view is a belief in the interconnectedness of all life, thus all life has rights.

This work argues that the "dominant" worldview shaped the policies of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Consistent with this worldview, the USFS management. paradigm was to provide the greatest return, a commodity-driven focus. However, when public values changed towards a more ecocentric view, the USFS should have reevaluated its method of doing business. Instead, it remained entrenched in its management objective- timber production.

After the courts enjoined the USFS against cutting in the Pacific Northwest, aftet struggling with confrontational environmentalists and increased activism within the agency, the USFS attempted to re-write its management paradigm. However even though the policy sounds eco-friendly, the USFS is still mandated by Congress, and forced by appropriations approved by Congress, to cut trees. Different ideologies are accommodated only when they do not conflict with economics. Thus, in spite of changing values, it is still business as usual.



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