Administrators and Citizens: Measuring Agency Officials' Efforts to Foster and Use Public Input in Forest Policy.
This study examines a basic question: In a federal system such as the United States, do officials at lower levels of governance foster and incorporate citizen input in policy making more than do officials at higher levels? Long-standing efforts to bring the government closer to the people have included calls for devolution of policy responsibility from national to state governments. But the claim that such devolution would lead to greater participation has not been tested empirically. This study tests the claim in one policy sector by comparing state and national agency officials' efforts to foster and use citizen participation in public forest policy. Indicators, developed and applied across four cases, do not support this claim. Rather, in three of four indicators, national officials make greater efforts to encourage citizen participation. Moreover, national officials are more likely than are state officials to say that the goal of such efforts is to influence decisions. Crucial factors that cause these differences are statutory constraints, legislator pressure, underlying agency missions, and personnel mobility.
Bringing the government closer to the people has been a rallying cry of reformers in the United States for more than two centuries. Over the years, expansion of the franchise, direct election of U.S. senators, and the presidential term limit have increased national government officials' responsiveness to citizen preferences. At the state level, the establishment of citizen referendums and part-time legislatures has ensured government accountability to the citizens. Another strategy, the focus of this article, is the devolution of policy responsibility to lower levels of governance.
A recent movement has called for an increase in government responsiveness through a devolution of policy authority from the national level to state and local levels. Though pushed by the conservative members of Congress elected in 1994, even President Clinton has backed certain devolution efforts, such as the revolutionary welfare reform bill that gives greater authority to states. Moreover, the Clinton administration has granted numerous waivers for state Medicaid experiments. Policy sectors as diverse as housing assistance, highway transportation, and environmental protection are included in Congress' and the president's recent devolution agenda (Pagano and Bowman 1995). In other policy sectors such as public lands management, state officials and citizens have called for devolution of national lands to state control (Rauber 1995; Register-Guard 1996; Short 1989). Public sentiment appears to support policy devolution; an NBC-Wall Street Journal opinion poll in early 1995 revealed that over two-thirds of respondents favored a shift from federal to state or local government provision of certain services (National Journal 1995).
Proponents of such policy devolution often argue that lower levels of governance foster greater citizen participation and influence. At first blush, this may seem to be an intuitively obvious proposition. In smaller government jurisdictions the voice of one citizen is proportionally greater than it is in larger jurisdictions. Moreover, most citizens are geographically closer to state government seats than they are to Washington, D.C. Such advantages lie at the heart of Thomas Jefferson's vision of a democratic nation with governmental authority vested primarily in lower-level jurisdictions. Jeffersonian democracy extols the virtues of direct citizen participation in the everyday affairs of government, such that "any citizen can attend, when called on, and act in person" (Mason 1956, 372).
But is this intuitive notion correct? In a federal system such as the United States, do officials at the state level foster and incorporate citizen input into policy making more than do officials at the national level? An understanding of whether lower levels of governance are more conducive to citizen participation and influence allows clearer evaluation of debates over policy devolution in the U.S. federal system. If officials at lower levels do not foster greater citizen participation and influence, then merely devolving authority without changing underlying factors that affect officials' behavior is not likely to enhance public involvement. But understanding what factors affect officials' behavior might allow changes that increase their efforts to encourage public participation, I Surprisingly, little empirical research has examined such factors.
The focus of this article is citizen participation and influence in agency policy making. Specifically, it emphasizes public administrators' efforts to include citizens and incorporate their input in agency decisions. In order to compare higher and lower levels of governance I will examine a policy sector in which national and state government agencies have parallel authority--public forest management. This article will have five sections. Following these introductory remarks, I will present a brief theoretical background that describes prior research about citizen participation and influence in a federal system. In the next section, I will address hypotheses, data, and methods. Subsequently, I will present results from four cases and then I will discuss the results; concluding remarks will comprise the final section.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION AND INFLUENCE IN A FEDERAL SYSTEM
Citizen participation has been the subject of extensive examination by social scientists. In political science, the most common emphasis has been on voting. Scholars have sought to explain links between numerous factors and voter turnout levels (see Downs 1957; Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980; Brody 1978; Campbell 1960; Fiorina 1981). Of course, voting is not the only important form of citizen participation; a smaller number of political scientists have focused on participative activities beyond voting (see, for example, Verba and Nie 1987).
A research area of growing importance addresses citizen participation in agency decision making. This area has been a mainstay of public administration scholarship. Proponents of greater citizen participation have argued that it will lead to more accountable government services and increase citizen trust and confidence in public officials (Cole 1975). Others, however, have described less attractive outcomes of bureaucratic efforts to encourage citizen participation, including exacerbation of conflicts, increased costs, and undue influence accruing to uninformed or unqualified individuals (Riedel 1972). Prescriptive work has given agency officials information about how to increase effectiveness in citizen participation (e.g., Buckwalter, Parsons, and Wright 1993; Thomas 1993), while other efforts have analyzed the impact of citizens on agency policy making (e.g., Scott 1997; Schneider and Jacoby 1996).
Students of public policy, examining specific sectors, have provided additional insights about public administrator interactions with citizens. For example, research on citizen participation in public forest policy has analyzed activities of U.S. Forest Service administrators, focusing on relationships between agency decision makers and outside parties. Accusations of agency capture by commodity interests that wield undue influence (Shepherd 1975) are countered by claims of agency neutrality by virtue of interactions with a diverse array of citizens (Culhane 1981). Scholars have examined citizen participants who favor different forest policy goals, including their preferred participation methods (Steel, Pierce, and Lovrich 1996) and demographic characteristics (Force and Williams 1989).
The existing research leaves important gaps in our understanding of public administrator interactions with citizens. First, it tends to emphasize either normative arguments about the degree to which bureaucrats should include citizens in decision making or prescriptive advice about how public administrators can increase effective interactions with citizens. Yet it does not fully address questions about either the extent of administrators' efforts to foster citizen participation or which factors explain such efforts. Second, these studies typically are limited to administrators at a single level of government (primarily national, but also state or local), each examined apart from other levels. Little systematic data have been generated to compare the efforts of officials at lower levels with those at higher levels of governance to foster and use citizen participation in policy making. Yet sound decisions about policy devolution should be informed by such comparisons.
Despite the lack of comparative and explanatory empirical research in public administration and policy studies, scholarship on federalism does provide useful insights into differences between higher and lower levels of governance. Such scholarship suggests that the notion is misguided that lower levels of governance are closer to the people in terms of fostering citizen participation and influence. In fact, much of this work suggests that the opposite is true--lower levels of governance are less supportive of public input than are higher levels (Peterson 1981). Compared to national policy making, state and local policy making are viewed as having fewer and less diverse participants (Heclo 1978). Historically, in the United States, the national government has taken the lead in promoting citizen participation in agency decisions, while lower levels of governance have been less accommodating (Gordon 1996). For example, the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) of 1946 established minimum standards for national administrative agencies' procedures regarding citizen consultation, input, and information dissemination. Most states, in contrast, did not enact similar statutes until years later--and then only after prodding from national officials through grant requirements (Gordon 1996).
Empirical work on factors other than the APA is lacking, especially at the state level. It is possible that state public administrators promote citizen participation even without rules as specific as national public administrators face because of the APA. Besides this law, other rules might apply. Moreover, the existence of rules is only one independent variable among many that can affect officials' behavior regarding encouragement and use of public input. Careful, empirical work is needed, therefore, to compare efforts across levels of governance.
DATA AND METHODS
The devolution arguments described above provide a basis for generating testable hypotheses about citizen participation in public forest agency decision making across levels of governance. Specifically, the hypotheses to be tested are as follows:
Hypothesis 1: State agency officials devote more effort to seeking citizen participation in agency policy making than do national agency officials.
Hypothesis 2: State agency officials are more likely than are national agency officials to incorporate citizen input into their decisions.
Why study participation in the public forest policy sector? One reason is that, given parallel state and national authority, officials' behavior can be viewed in a sector where similar resources (forests) are managed in light of a similar array of stakeholders (loggers, wood processors, recreationists, preservation proponents, and county officials, among others). Thus any systematic differences are attributable to characteristics of the different governmental jurisdictions rather than to the nature of the resource or stakeholders. Controlling for resources managed and stakeholders involved increases the ability of the study to inform other policy sectors. A second reason is that a fairly extensive body of literature has examined public forest management, providing useful background information and indicating the importance of and interest in this sector.
Data for this study come from examination of public forest policy in four cases. In each case, data collection centers on a matched forest pair made up of state and national forests located in a similar geographic region and sharing similar ecological characteristics (Koontz 1997). Case 1 is Ohio State Forests and Wayne National Forest; case 2 is Indiana State Forests and Hoosier National Forest; case 3 is Washington State Forests and Gifford Pinchot National Forest; and case 4 is Oregon State Forests and Siuslaw National Forest. While full generalizability cannot be established from four case studies, the diversity of conditions across these cases increases applicability of the findings to other settings (see the appendix).
Data come from interviews and agency documents. Interviews were conducted with citizens as well as with agency personnel. Citizens included individuals across the spectrum of policy views, from timber and recreational forest users to ecosystem preservation advocates. Citizens were selected by agency personnel's identification of key contacts and by other citizen participants' suggestions of important people to contact. Agency personnel included a wide range of individuals closely involved in making forest management decisions, in line as well as in staff positions, from field workers to state forestry department chiefs and national forest supervisors. Agency personnel were selected from a representative sample from similar areas of responsibility across the agencies, including timber sales planning and administration, wildlife, recreation, environmental protection, legislative relations, public education and communication, budget management, and overall agency management. Interviews were held with nearly seventy citizens and more than ninety agency officials.
In addition to the interviews, useful information about officials' efforts to foster citizen participation came from agency reports, plans, budget proposals, internal memos, and maps. In particular, officials' mailings to citizens were analyzed for frequency, content, and range of individuals to whom the mailings were sent.
Efforts to Encourage Citizen Participation
Administrators were asked to indicate their successful efforts to encourage citizen participation in forest management. I will examine four of these indicators of public participation efforts: public meetings, working groups, mailings, and other activities. None of the indicators provides strong support for hypothesis 1. In fact, most suggest that national officials' efforts are greater than state officials' efforts.
Public Meetings. The first indicator of efforts to encourage public participation is public meetings, which provide a means for citizens to communicate face-to-face with one another and with agency personnel. Analysis focuses on meetings that were held by agency officials in 1995 and were attended by citizens. As is described below, national officials held more public meetings in cases 1, 3, and 4, while national and state officials held a similar number of public meetings in case 2.
In case 1 (Ohio State Forests and Wayne National Forest), national officials devoted greater effort to encourage citizen participation through public meetings in 1995 than did state officials. For example, one horse rider described attendance at two or three meetings with national officials during the year; only one meeting was held at the state level. Similarly, a chamber of commerce member said he had been to several meetings with national officials where he had expressed his concern about national officials' land purchasing activities, but he had been to few meetings with state officials. In 1995, Wayne National Forest officials initiated a series of quarterly "community of interest" meetings open to anyone interested. Each meeting attracted approximately thirty to forty people with a diversity of interests, including wildlife, environmental protection, horseback riding, hunting, off-road vehicle (ORV) riding, private forest ownership, logging, community tax revenue, oil and gas production, and bird watching. About ten national officials participated in the meetings--including the forest supervisor, district rangers, and most program managers--where they shared information and answered questions. While several Ohio State Forest officials attended these national agency meetings, the state agency did not hold any meetings for such a large and diverse group of nonagency participants. State officials' meetings for a broad audience were limited to two informal(2) open houses in 1995. Overall, then, state officials did not hold as many public meetings as did national officials.
In case 2 (Indiana State Forests and Hoosier National Forest), neither national nor state officials held formal public meetings in 1995. Several national officials expressed a belief that such public meetings are often counterproductive: "We don't do formal public meetings any more because they're not useful ,, for information sharing; you get people with their set agendas who don't work together," explained one official. Another national official said, "We've found that meetings often lead to shouting matches, with polarized viewpoints, and I've seen studies to back this up." A state official said, "We avoid general public meetings much, since they can be rancorous and, with some quiet folks, not everyone gets to speak their mind."
However, officials in both agencies held informal open houses for public communication. Such open houses regarding the national forest usually were conducted in order to discern public views about particular proposed projects. Citizens had opportunities to discuss projects individually with national officials. Approximately four of these open houses were held in 1995. At the state level, one official estimated that the forest agency held between three and ten open houses a year. He described a typical open house as devoted to a specific issue, with forest officials seated at different tables and the public invited to stop by and talk one-on-one. Thus in case 2, state and national officials held a similar number of public meetings.
In case 3 (Washington State Forests and Gifford Pinchot National Forest), national officials held formal public meetings relating to issues that involved hostility or a need for guidance from the public about forest management direction. For the timber program, between four and six such meetings were held in 1995, while about two or three public meetings were held for nontimber program areas. In addition, national officials held open houses or workshops about four times each month. In these gatherings, officials and interested persons discussed plans for the forest's adaptive management area as well as specific issues such as damage caused by flooding. Some of these gatherings drew forty to fifty citizen participants.
State officials in case 3 held fewer public meetings in 1995. Washington State Forest officials at the field level typically held one or two informal meetings each month, where they met with neighbors and other interested individuals to discuss timber sales or recreational conflicts. Traditionally, the timber sale process included a preharvest review meeting before each sale, but because of low participation from nontimber interests, one local-level forester stopped holding such meetings. During creation of landscape plans for a particular forest, state officials sometimes held public meetings.
In case 4 (Oregon State Forests and Siuslaw National Forest), national officials hosted a variety of public meetings in 1995. One national official in the timber program estimated meeting with citizens about once a month to discuss policies and practices. Another official worked with the Provincial Advisory Committee, which met quarterly to discuss implementation of the amended forest management plan. Officials also held public meetings relating to watershed analyses. About three watershed analyses were performed during the year, involving about five meetings, each attended by fifteen to twenty people. National officials met with a recreation group once or twice during the year, and they hosted an annual open house that focused on recreation issues. One national official who worked at the forest headquarters estimated that, forest wide, officials held between ten and twenty project oriented public meetings during the year.
State officials in case 4 also hosted numerous public meetings in 1995 for long range planning purposes. In creating a new regional forest plan, Oregon State Forest officials planned to hold five public meetings, in different locations, at each of five planning stages over a three-year period. In addition, a comprehensive recreation plan for one state forest, completed over a two-year period, included over thirty-six meetings with user groups. The creation of the statewide forest planning document also included seven public meetings. Other than those for long range planning, however, officials did not hold frequent public meetings to encourage public participation for activities such as timber sales.(3) In fact, officials developed annual timber sale plans without public input, and those who wanted a copy of such plans were charged $0.25 per page. One state official commented, "Overall, we do little to encourage public input outside of [long range] planning." This contrasts with the level of effort by national officials, who held public meetings both during long range planning and while they made decisions about numerous projects.
Measuring the quality of the meetings, in terms of how well they facilitated public participation, is complex. Sufficient data were not available to compare fully state and national public meeting quality across the four cases. However, discussions with officials and citizens did not suggest that state officials' public meetings were more conducive to citizen participation than were those held by national officials. In fact, national officials appeared to be in the forefront.
In order to illustrate qualitative differences between state and national public meetings, I will offer an example of public meetings that relate to broad forest direction and planned activities in one case, Ohio (case 1). In 1995, Wayne National Forest personnel conducted a series of "community of interest" meetings that were open to the public. The public administrators invited participants interested in an array of forest uses to a site away from the forest offices. At least ten national officials participated, including the forest supervisor, district rangers, and program managers. These meetings each had a structured format and agenda; at the first meeting a professional facilitator encouraged input from all participants in a variety of formats, including small group discussions, meeting-wide discussions, and collaborative, written lists. National officials explained that their purpose was "to listen to you and learn from you." Following each meeting, public administrators sent participants a list of public comments compiled from the meeting, along with information about the status of current forest management decisions and activities related to these comments.
In contrast, during 1995, state forest personnel held two informal public meetings, which they referred to as open houses. At these events, which were held at local forest agency offices, three or four state officials participated, informing the public about foresters' group management decisions. These meetings were not tightly structured, nor were extended group discussions held among all participants. No professional facilitator was used. Instead, officials mingled with participants to discuss issues with one or a few citizens at a time. A state official said that the purpose of these meetings was "to show that we're not isolated from public desires, and to give more credibility to our activities." Participants did not receive lists of comments from the meetings.
Overall, national officials made greater efforts than did state officials to encourage public participation through public meetings in cases 1, 3, and 4, while effort levels were not clearly different in case 2. This result does not support hypothesis 1.
Working Groups. The second indicator of officials' efforts to encourage citizen participation is the creation of working groups that include citizens. The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA) has limited creation of working groups to address public forest issues at the national level. In an attempt to avoid advisory committee domination by narrow interests, FACA set limits on the use of advisory committees. Moreover, President Clinton's Executive Order 12838 (1993) prevented the creation of new advisory committees without a "compelling consideration" to justify their existence and approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Thus national officials do not often invite nonagency individuals to join official advisory committees. Still, on occasion national officials do create working groups for specific planning processes. In 1995, national and state officials created similar levels of working groups in cases 1, 2, and 3, while state officials used working groups more extensively in case 4.
In case 1 (Ohio State Forests and Wayne National Forest), public administrators in both agencies used working groups to a similar extent. For Wayne National Forest, officials created committees of users to help in forest planning. For example, before 1995 national officials established a trails committee to gather input from interested parties. Officials incorporated such input into the development of a plan that added trails to the forest. At the state level, a forest advisory council that was appointed by the governor included one representative from each of the following interests: forest-based research activities; small private forestland owners; large private forestland owners; pulp/ paper industry; other forest industries; soil science; forest recreation; and the general public. This council met quarterly and gave advice to the forest agency chief about priorities, long term goals, and controversial issues--but generally not on site-specific planning.
In case 2 (Indiana State Forests and Hoosier National Forest), officials used working groups to a similar extent in both agencies. Hoosier National Forest officials created task forces to deal with certain issues, such as a project designed to catalogue existing forest openings and decide which to maintain and where to create possible new ones. These public administrators invited nonagency participants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state natural resources department, and a state university to provide input into this project. In addition, prior to a management plan amendment, officials brought together more than a dozen individuals representing diverse interests, and this group met frequently over the course of a year to provide recommendations for the amendment.
State officials in case 2 also fostered involvement in working groups. For example, Indiana State Forest officials established a horse riding task force to provide a public voice in planning for riding trails. In addition, a permanent working group established to address state forest issues included a broad array of interests, from timber, to government agencies, to environmental protection and so forth. The state forester chaired this working group of about forty active members, which met twice a year. While a primary purpose of the working group was to fulfill the forest stewardship committee requirement attached to some federal grants, it also provided a forum for sharing ideas and concerns.
In case 3 (Washington State Forests and Gifford Pinchot National Forest), neither national nor state officials substantially supported working groups. Regarding Gifford Pinchot National Forest, amendments to the existing forest management plan addressing northern spotted owl protection created a Provincial Advisory Committee. The committee, comprising representatives from environmental groups, recreation interests, Native American tribes, timber producers, and counties, met bimonthly to help officials set management priorities and to review all timber sales. This was the only committee on which national officials included working groups that encouraged public participation.
Nor did state officials in case 3 make much use of working groups that included citizens. The only example mentioned by Washington State Forest officials was in creating landscape plans for a particular forest. One state official said that, for some landscape plans, individuals who represent diverse interests may be appointed to an advisory committee, but other plans have no such advisory committee.
In case 4 (Oregon State Forests and Siuslaw National Forest), national forest officials encouraged public participation through working groups less than did state forest officials. The Provincial Advisory Committee met quarterly to discuss implementation of forest management plan amendments for Suislaw National Forest. Officials also assembled two or three ad hoc groups, which focused on particular issues and held several meetings over the course of two or three months. Oregon State Forest officials used working groups more extensively. The state's largest forest's recreational interests were represented on three committees: recreation advisory, which met quarterly; nonmotorized trail planning, which met monthly; and motorized trail planning, which met about twice a month. In addition, a forum group, including diverse interests, provided input to long-range forest planning.
Overall, analysis of working groups does not support hypothesis 1. Even with FACA and Executive Order 12838, which made it difficult for national agencies to establish formal advisory committees, state officials in three of the four cases did not use working groups more extensively than did national officials.
Mailings. The third indicator, mailings, included both agency newsletters and letters to targeted individuals regarding specific projects in 1995. Newsletters were analyzed in terms of both the quantity mailed and their content, while letters to targeted individuals were analyzed in terms of the quantity mailed and the range of interests of their recipients. In all four cases, national officials encouraged citizen participation through mailings more than did state officials.
In case 1 (Ohio State Forests and Wayne National Forest), both agencies maintained mailing lists of parties who expressed interest in various issues. Exact numbers and expenditures for agency mailings were not available, although agency officials did provide different estimates of the number of recipients on their mailing lists. The biggest mailing list for the Wayne National Forest included over nine hundred recipients, three hundred of whom received quarterly newsletters in 1995. Ohio State Forest officials maintained a mailing list of nearly five thousand for the agency's quarterly newsletter. Despite a greater number of state agency mailings, the public input value of these mailings was substantially lower than that of national agency mailings. While state officials typically produced a short document (four pages) that gave information about recent agency accomplishments, the national agency produced a longer document (typically twenty-two pages) that not only described accomplishments, but also included a substantial list of dozens of proposed actions along with information about which officials to contact for input (see exhibit 1). Thus the national newsletter was designed to solicit public comments more than the state newsletter was.
Exhibit 1 Comparison of 1995 Sample Newsletter Contents, Case 1 Page Agency Subject Length State Welcome 1/2 Fall 1994 fire season 1/2 Tree pruning tips 1/2 Forest, ecology, general components 1 Pest quarantine 1/2 Upcoming events, e.g., APV rally, county fair 1/2 National Message from forest supervisor 1/2 Cemetery restoration 1/2 Community of Interest meetings 1 Forest fire research 1/2 Fishing event 1/2 Wetlands monitoring 1/2 Forest trail improvement 1/2 Lease sale 1 Tree Source award 1 Wetlands restoration 1/2 Creek restoration 1 Land acquisition 1 Reclamation/rehabilitation 1/2 Wildlife habitat improvement 1/2 Water quality surveying 1/2 Road reconstruction 1/2 Community celebrations 1 Firefighter training 1/2 Restoration work 1 Water quality monitoring 2 Project status with contact names, 51 projects 6 Related to Specific Public Agency Subject Forest Project? State Welcome No Fall 1994 fire season No Tree pruning tips No Forest ecology, general components No Pest quarantine Yes Upcoming events, e.g., APV rally, county fair Yes National Message from forest supervisor No Cemetery restoration Yes Community of Interest meetings No Forest fire research Yes Fishing event Yes Wetlands monitoring Yes Forest trail improvement Yes Lease sale Yes Tree Source award No Wetlands restoration Yes Creek restoration Yes Land acquisition Yes Reclamation/rehabilitation Yes Wildlife habitat improvement Yes Water quality surveying Yes Road reconstruction Yes Community celebrations No Firefighter training No Restoration work Yes Water quality monitoring Yes Project status with contact names, 51 projects Yes
In addition to encouraging more citizen input through newsletters, national officials in case 1 also solicited input more frequently through letters sent to interested parties. One Wayne National Forest official indicated that agency personnel sent letters to a handful of people who were likely to be impacted by each nontrivial agency action. For example, he estimated that a few dozen times in 1995, four or five parties received letters relating to proposed oil or gas permits. Additional national officials described similar letters related to other agency actions. Ohio State Forest officials, in contrast, did not indicate that such letters were an important part of their activities in 1995.
A good example of differences between state and national officials' mailings in case 1 involves land purchase and exchange. One Wayne National Forest official said that proposed land purchases involved agency letters sent to county commissioners, to the congressional delegation representing that region, and sometimes to state legislators as well. State land adjustment, on the other hand, did not routinely involve such notification. State officials had more freedom to pursue land exchanges and purchases without seeking public participation. In fact, state officials had recently pursued a land exchange outside their agency's legal purchase boundary, with approval granted by the natural resources department, not legislative mandate. State officials preferred to pursue the purchase without public participation, because in an earlier purchase attempt, a vocal group of opponents had contacted the administrative agency that had land transaction responsibilities and was able to block the transaction.
Analysis of case 1 indicates greater national efforts to foster citizen input through mailings. While state officials sent more newsletters in 1995, it was the national officials who produced newsletters that encouraged and facilitated input from recipients to a greater degree. Moreover, national officials' mailed many more targeted letters about upcoming activities than did state officials.
In case 2 (Indiana State Forests and Hoosier National Forest), national agency officials maintained a number of mailing lists relating to different issue areas. Several hundred parties received quarterly newsletters that provided extensive information about ongoing and planned activities and about contact personnel for public input. Indiana State Forest officials, in contrast, did not provide a state forest newsletter for public distribution.
In addition to providing quarterly newsletters, national officials in case 2 sent many letters to interested parties when specific projects were planned. For example, one Hoosier National Forest official described sending at least one such letter each month, to about fifty or sixty people. Another national official sent eight hundred letters to individuals who were identified as having an interest in a proposal to allow a private organization to build a horse trail in the national forest. Forestwide, officials sent approximately one letter each week in 1995. These letters went to adjacent landowners as well as to individuals who had expressed interest in a particular issue area.
In case 2, Indiana State Forest officials reported contacting adjacent landowners before planned timber sales. State officials also contacted groups directly affected by certain proposed activities. For example, one official contacted horse riders to inform them of plans to close a horse camp. Such mailings, however, were not frequent in 1995. State officials did not provide as many systematic mailings, or to as many people, as did national officials. Thus, as in case 1, officials' efforts in case 2 to foster citizen input through mailings were greater at the national than at the state level.
In case 3 (Washington State Forests and Gifford Pinchot National Forest), national officials mailed a semiannual newsletter to interested parties in 1995. The newsletter, typically about forty pages, described all projects subject to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, including maps, schedules, and which personnel to contact to provide input. Gifford Pinchot National Forest officials mailed out about four hundred newsletters. State officials, in contrast, did not provide a newsletter. Although the state department of natural resources (of which the forest agency is a part) did print an annual report describing financial and project activities for the previous year, this report included no details about future projects nor did it indicate which officials to contact to provide input.
In addition to sending newsletters, case 3 officials used mailing lists to send letters to interested parties about upcoming projects such as timber sales. In 1995, Gifford Pinchot National Forest officials sent letters to about 120 recipients for each timber sale and other project (e.g., trail building, campsite work, rare species protection) for which they had completed environmental assessments. Meanwhile, Washington State Forest officials sent letters to interested parties about activities for which they had completed environmental checklists. One state official estimated that the agency mailed more than twenty such letters per month in 1995, each to about a dozen recipients. But state letters were related to a narrower range of projects. Over 85 percent of the letters in one four-month period were about timber sales; few letters related to other projects. Overall, national officials in case 3 made a greater effort through mailings to foster citizen participation than did state officials.
In case 4 (Oregon State Forests and Siuslaw National Forest), national officials provided a quarterly newsletter that highlighted proposed actions for which there was opportunity for public input. Siuslaw National Forest officials sent this newsletter to about thirteen hundred recipients in 1995. Oregon State Forest officials also produced a newsletter, six times per year, which they sent to about two thousand recipients. Unlike the national agency's newsletter, this publication was designed as a tool for sharing the agency's accomplishments rather than for encouraging public input about specific projects. In addition, state officials kept a mailing list of approximately eight hundred persons who received a quarterly newsletter featuring updates on the long range forest planning process. They also sent a recreational newsletter to about four hundred persons. While these recreational and planning newsletters encouraged citizen involvement in planning processes, they generally did not provide information to encourage citizen participation in specific agency decisions. Thus, in case 4, while state officials sent a greater number of newsletters, the mailings they sent encouraged citizen participation in specific project decisions less than did the newsletters from the national agency.
In addition to newsletters, officials in case 4 sent targeted letters related to specific projects. Siuslaw National Forest officials sent targeted letters to solicit citizen participation in agency decisions to a greater extent than state officials did. One national official with recreational program responsibilities estimated that she sent about seventy-five different letters during the year, each one going to an average of thirty parties interested in specific recreational use decisions. For example, she sent a letter to about fifteen hundred recipients regarding a proposed rule change that would affect a popular recreational area. National officials also sent letters relating to any project for which an environmental assessment was performed, such as timber sales, land exchanges, right-of-way grants, and special use permits. Meanwhile, Oregon State Forest officials sent notification letters to interested parties before a timber purchaser started operations. However, state officials did not routinely send letters for other projects. In fact, most recipients of timber harvesting notifications were not parties who sought to provide input into agency decision making, but timber consultants who sought business with the timber purchasers. Thus, in case 4, as in the other cases, national officials used newsletters and targeted letters to encourage citizen participation in agency decision making for specific projects more than state officials did. These results do not support hypothesis 1.
Other Efforts. The combination of other activities that public administrators described is a final indicator of officials' efforts to encourage public participation. National officials described higher levels of such activities in !995 than did state officials in cases 1 and 3, while national and state officials in cases 2 and 4 described similar levels.
In case 1, national officials made greater other efforts in 1995 to encourage public input than did state officials. Officials at both Ohio State Forests and Wayne National Forest distributed and collected visitor comment cards, participated in fairs and trade shows, and attended other organizations' meetings to share information. But national officials also described the use of additional activities such as press releases, field trips, membership in community groups, and even door-to-door contacts to increase public participation. At one point, this researcher observed a national official (whose primary job responsibility was not pubic relations) assist a walk-in student obtain information about a planned restoration project, taking time to sit down with him and provide a map with detailed explanations.
In case 2, officials at both agencies reported similar levels of other efforts in 1995. Indiana State Forest and Hoosier National Forest officials described working with volunteers who helped maintain trails or picked up trash, giving educational presentations to different groups, attending other groups' meetings, and hosting field trips. National officials cited additional activities such as writing newspaper notices and soliciting input through comment cards, while state officials described conducting surveys to provide guidance in developing recreational policy.
In case 3, national officials undertook greater other efforts in 1995 than did state officials. Officials at both Washington State Forests and Gifford Pinchot National Forest cited the use of one-on-one meetings with concerned parties and partnerships with groups helping with forest projects. National officials described making public contacts through classroom visits, while a state official described staffing fair booths. But national officials described several additional tools not mentioned by state officials, including giving out press releases, hosting field trips, and hosting campouts for inner city youths. National officials also indicated higher levels of attendance at nonagency meetings; they attended meetings held by equestrian, motorcycle, snowmobile, mountain biking, wildlife, and environmental groups. The forest supervisor attended between ten and twenty meetings of county commissioners, civic organizations, and other groups in 1995. In contrast, only one state official indicated that attending other groups' meetings was an important part of public interaction. This official attended between five and ten such meetings in 1995.
In case 4, national and state officials undertook similar levels of other efforts in 1995 to encourage citizen participation. Siuslaw National Forest officials described numerous efforts, including hosting forest field trips, developing focus groups, holding one-on-one meetings, attending citizen meetings, and staffing county fair booths. Similarly, Oregon State Forest officials encouraged public input through hosting forest field trips, developing focus groups, attending citizen meetings, hosting volunteer workdays, and visiting schools.
Overall, considering all four indicators, it is clear that state officials did not devote greater efforts than national officials did to encourage citizen participation (see exhibit 1). State officials in all cases devoted less effort to mailings intended to solicit public input. State officials used public meetings less frequently than national officials in three cases. State and national officials devoted similar efforts to working groups in three cases, but state officials devoted greater efforts in the fourth case. Finally, state officials devoted less effort to other public communications activities in two cases, while efforts were similar across the agencies in two cases. This evidence does not support hypothesis 1.
Citizen influence in agency decision making is difficult to quantify; a true measure of influence would involve determination of the degree to which citizen input caused a particular agency decision or action. In this study, citizen influence is measured by the degree to which public administrators incorporate citizens' input into agency policy. To estimate this measure, agency officials were asked to describe the purposes for which they engaged in efforts to communicate with citizens about agency policies. Stated purposes provide useful insights into the degree to which citizen input is incorporated into officials' decisions.(4) Officials' responses were tallied and categorized into three types. Since these categories were derived from interviewee description, rather than preassigned, they reflect concepts grounded in the data. The response categories are explained below, along with results of the state-national comparisons.
The first response category, learning opportunity, includes responses indicating that public communication is valued for its contribution to better agency decision making. This is an especially interesting response, in light of the high level of professionalism among foresters, who have been trained and are expected to have intimate technical knowledge about the resources under their management. While professional training and education can provide knowledge of fundamental concepts and relationships in a specific policy sector, public administrators still must acquire time- and place-specific information about the resources under their charge. Each forest has its own particular history, combination of ecological characteristics, and set of stakeholders.
Responses in the learning opportunity category suggest that officials seek to learn from citizens and use their input to affect policy. For example, one state official noted, "For our recreation plan, public input was important in bringing knowledge of the area, what the uses were, current problems, and historical background--nobody knows the forest better than those who use it." Public communication also can provide officials with information about the preferences of various publics. For example, one national official said, "An important reason for communicating with the public is that we need to know what the public wants us to do on the land." Another national official described an incident when officials had planned to burn vegetation at one site without being aware of strong opposition, but once this opposition was communicated the officials changed their plans.
Comparing national to state officials' responses in the learning opportunity category does not provide support for hypothesis 2. In case 1, a similar proportion of national officials' responses (five of fifteen, or 33 percent) and state officials' responses (two of seven, or 29 percent) cited learning opportunities. In case 2, a higher proportion of national officials' responses (six of eleven, or 55 percent) than state officials' responses (none of eight, or 0 percent) cited learning opportunities. Similarly, in case 3, three of thirteen national officials' responses (23 percent) but only one of seven state officials' responses (14 percent) cited learning opportunities. Finally, in case 4, a similar proportion of responses in each agency (five of fifteen, or 33 percent of national officials' responses; five of seventeen, or 29 percent of state officials' responses) fell into this category. Thus a higher proportion of national officials' responses cited learning opportunity in two cases, while proportions are similar across agencies in two cases.
The second response category, promotion of agency policies, views officials' public communication efforts as a protective mechanism to reduce the chances of future restrictions on agency activities. This view does not suggest that citizen participation is incorporated into agency decision making. Rather, agency officials seek to make policy internally and then use public communication to insulate their policies from citizen opposition or to persuade citizens that they have made good decisions.
An example of a response categorized as promotion of agency policies comes from one Ohio State Forest official, who said his agency held two informal open houses in an attempt to head off a proposed clearcutting ban on one state forest and to counter pressure to require formal public input processes. In case 2, one Indiana State Forest official said, "If we were to ignore public input, then the legislature or the executive branch would step in and provide us with more detailed guidance." Another commented, "We send a `good neighbor' letter to adjacent landowners before a timber harvest in order to avoid possible complaints later from those who say we didn't notify them." A Hoosier National Forest official noted, "The more public participation we get, the less likely we are to face appeals and lawsuits."
The promotion of agency activities category also includes responses that indicate a desire to gain acceptance and support for present agency activities. For example, in case 3, a Gifford Pinchot National Forest official said that public communication is crucial "to get support for our projects and give people a sense of ownership, which translates into them taking better care of the facilities." In case 4, one Oregon State Forest official said it is important to engage in public communication "so the public is more receptive to our mission to actively manage forests for revenue."
Interestingly, responses in this category indicate that officials do not view the education of citizens to become more informed and involved participants to be part of their jobs. Such a role for public administrators would be in the republican tradition of encouraging citizens to take greater responsibility for self-governance. However, typical responses suggest that this is not the case. As these quotes illustrate, officials describe a citizen's role as that of facilitating officials' dominance in determining policy.
In each case, state officials more frequently cited promotion of agency policies as a reason to undertake public communications than did national officials. This result does not support hypothesis 2. In case 1, four of seven (57 percent) Ohio State Forest officials' responses referred to agency promotion, while just five of fifteen (33 percent) Wayne National Forest officials' responses did. In case 2, four of eight (50 percent) Indiana State Forest officials' responses referred to promoting the agency and its activities, compared to just two of eleven (18 percent) Hoosier National Forest officials' responses. In case 3, five of seven (71 percent) Washington State Forest officials' responses cited agency promotion, compared to eight of thirteen (62 percent) Gifford Pinchot National Forest officials' responses. Finally, in case 4, twelve of seventeen (71 percent) Oregon State Forest officials' responses fell into this category, compared to just six of fifteen (40 percent) Siuslaw National Forest officials' responses.
The third response category is moral obligation. In this category, citizen participation is viewed as an end in itself, regardless of any instrumental benefits such as earning support for the agency or providing information to officials. The category includes responses that focus on a duty to the public, as well as responses that emphasize the agency's mission. For example, a typical response categorized as moral obligation comes from one national official who said, "It's the public's forest--they have a right to know what's going on." Another national official described the importance of being responsive to the public in order to uphold the agency's customer service mission.(5) A state official said, "We seek public input because I feel an obligation, since this is state land and these people have an interest in the property."
Comparison of national and state officials' moral obligation responses yields mixed results. In case 1, Wayne National Forest officials' responses are more likely than are Ohio State Forest officials' responses to fall into the moral obligation category: five of fifteen (33 percent) national officials' responses, compared to just one of seven (14 percent) state officials' responses. But the reverse is true in case 2; a higher proportion of Indiana State Forest (four of eight, or 50 percent) than of Hoosier National Forest (three of eleven, or 27 percent) officials' responses cited moral obligation reasons for soliciting public participation. In case 3, a similar proportion of responses by Gifford Pinchot National Forest (two of thirteen, or 15 percent) and Washington state Forest (one of seven, or 14 percent) officials cited moral obligation. In case 4, four of fifteen (27 percent) Siuslaw National Forest officials' responses indicated moral obligation, while none of the seventeen (0 percent) Oregon State Forest officials' responses did. Thus national officials' responses cited moral obligation more than did state officials' responses in two cases, while the reverse is true in one case and proportions are similar in one case.
Exhibit 3 combines all responses across all interviewees,(6) grouped into the three response categories. Of particular interest for this analysis are two categories of responses: learning opportunity and promotion of agency policies. Overall, important differences are evident in officials' stated purposes for communicating with citizens. National officials are somewhat more likely than are state officials to indicate that the public has something to teach them about the forests they manage. Conversely, state officials are substantially more likely to pursue public communications for the purpose of increasing agency support and avoiding potential future problems. Based on this measure, results suggest differences in the degree to which citizen participation is incorporated into agency decision making. Officials who believe that public input is useful for improving forest management will foster more meaningful public participation that actually shapes decisions than will officials who believe that public communication is useful primarily as a means to promote what the agency is already doing and to avoid future restrictions on agency activities.
Exhibit 3 Officials' Stated Purposes for Engaging in Public Communications Case 1 Case 2 Reason State Nat'l State Nat'l 1. LEARNING OPPORTUNITY Learn about specific forest sites 0 3 0 6 Learn public preferences 2 2 0 0 Total 2 5 0 6 Proportion of responses 29% 33% 0 55% 2. PROMOTION OF AGENCY POLICIES Preempt potential problems 2 2 3 1 Gain acceptance and support 2 3 1 1 Total 4 5 4 2 Proportion of responses 57% 33% 50% 18% 3. MORAL OBLIGATION Duty to the public 1 3 4 2 Agency mission 0 2 0 1 Total 1 5 4 3 Proportion of responses 14% 33% 50% 27% Total proportion 100% 100% 100% 100% Total number of responses 7 15 8 11 Case 3 Case 4 Reason State Nat'l State Nat'l 1. LEARNING OPPORTUNITY Learn about specific forest sites 1 2 3 3 Learn public preferences 0 1 2 2 Total 1 3 5 5 Proportion of responses 14% 23% 29% 33% 2. PROMOTION OF AGENCY POLICIES Preempt potential problems 3 5 6 3 Gain acceptance and support 2 3 6 3 Total 5 8 12 6 Proportion of responses 71% 62% 71% 40% 3. MORAL OBLIGATION Duty to the public 1 2 0 4 Agency mission 0 0 0 0 Total 1 2 0 4 Proportion of responses 14% 15% 0 27% Total proportion 100% 100% 100% 100% Total number of responses 7 13 17 15
As this research has shown, national officials make substantially greater efforts to foster citizen participation through mailings, and somewhat greater efforts through public meetings and other efforts than do state officials. The only indicator for which officials at lower levels of governance make greater efforts is working groups, and this occurs only in one of the four cases. For the working groups indicator, national officials are constrained by a statute (FACA) and an executive order which, ironically, were established in an attempt to curb domination of the general public by narrow interests. Thus the expectation that officials at lower levels of governance are more likely to encourage citizen participation is not supported by empirical evidence in this study.
To understand why, we must examine the perceived attractiveness of encouraging citizen participation. From the agency officials' standpoint, encouraging public participation is not costless. Such efforts require expenditures of time, personnel, and money. Moreover, most forest agency officials are professionals who are trained in the technical aspects of forest management and have a wealth of experience and education to guide their actions. They may think that their expertise puts them in the best position to make sound decisions about forest policy. Public involvement and influence, especially from nonprofessionals, may frustrate officials and yield policies that differ from what the officials favor.
One way to overcome these unappealing aspects of encouraging and using citizen participation is through laws that constrain agency officials.(7) Differences in such rules across levels of governance contribute to differences in the degree to which officials encourage and incorporate citizen participation into policy. As Gordon (1996) argues, national level legislation preceded state legislation in this regard. In addition to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), national forest agency officials face rules in the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that require specific public participation efforts, including making forest plans available to the public at least three months before adoption, holding meetings to encourage public review of plans, and establishing procedures to give citizens opportunities to comment on programs (16 USCA 1604d, 1612a).
Unlike national forest agency officials, those at the state level are not required to adhere to specified planning rules. In case 1, an official advisory committee does comment on Ohio State Forest policy generally, but it is not intimately involved with planning at the forest level. Rather, agency officials guide the planning process, relying on their expertise. Similarly, in case 2, Indiana State Forest officials do not face any legal requirements regarding state forest management planning, which has developed internally as administrators formalize existing state management practices. While Washington State Forest officials (case 3) are required to provide a public comment period after developing proposed plans, they do not face other legal requirements in creating forest management plans. Finally, Oregon State Forest officials (case 4) do not face significant requirements to involve citizens in agency planning processes. In fact, the lack of specified state forest planning requirements has opened the door to legal challenges under the state administrative procedures law, which prohibits arbitrary decision making in agencies.
Clearly, legislators can affect agency officials through statutory constraints. Moreover, they can affect officials at more regular intervals through budget allocations and contacting officials in response to citizen concerns (casework). Thus officials' behavior reflects the legislative context within which they operate, and this context might vary across levels of governance. In forest policy, the legislative context has undergone dramatic change over the past three decades as environmentally minded citizens increasingly have pressed legislators to preserve natural resources. This trend has been well documented at the national level, but less research has examined it at the state level.
To begin to explore differences in the legislative context across levels of government related to forest policy, a questionnaire was given to all officials in this study. One of the questions asked respondents to rank from 1 (no influence) to 5 (very influential) the amount of influence that forest preservation proponents have on the agency's forest management through pressure on legislators. Usable questionnaires returned from sixty-three of eighty-seven officials (72.4 percent return rate) indicate a statistically significant difference, at the 0.10 level,(8) in mean rank given by state and national officials: state response mean was 2.78 (1.26 standard deviation across thirty-two respondents) while national response mean was 3.32 (0.98 standard deviation across thirty-one respondents). This result suggests that environmental interests have turned up the heat on legislators --who in turn pressure forest officials to respond to citizen demands--at the national level more than at the state level.
In addition to laws and legislator pressures, agency officials are guided by their agency's mission statement. National and state agency mission statements differ substantially with regard to citizen participation. The U.S. Forest Service mission statement emphasizes interactions with citizens to give and receive information, requiring national officials in each case to "listen to people and respond to their diverse needs in making decisions." But in three of the four cases, state forest agency mission statements emphasize interactions to inform citizens rather than to incorporate their concerns into policy making. For example, in case 1, officials are directed to "inform the public" (Ohio Division of Forestry 1993), and in case 2, officials are directed to "market properties and [agency] services to a diversified public who are shown forest resources management" (Indiana Division of Forestry 1995). In case 4, officials are directed to "inform and educate the public" so that state residents will understand, accept, and support agency decisions (Oregon Board of Forestry 1995). The exception to this pattern is case 3, where the mission statement directs state officials to "solicit comment from the public" to incorporate input into agency decisions (Washington State Department of Natural Resources 1992).
These differences in mission statements are reflected in officials' stated purposes for undertaking public communication efforts. We have seen that national forest officials are more likely to use public input to shape policy decisions, while state forest officials are more likely to interact with citizens in order to gain support for agency decisions made by officials. Thus, under existing rules and mission statements, policy devolution from the national to the state level in these cases would not be likely to increase citizen influence in administrative actions of government.
Mobility of personnel is also a factor that explains officials' efforts to foster and use public input. Forest officials who remain in one location for a long time can gain intimate knowledge of forest resources as well as citizen concerns and preferences regarding that forest. Officials who have low mobility across forests may believe that they have sufficient knowledge without extensive communication with citizens. On the other hand, officials who have high mobility across forests are not as likely to accumulate knowledge over a long time about the local forest. Thus they may be more likely to recognize that they are missing information about a particular forest and the views of people with an interest in how that forest is managed.
Interviews indicate in this study that mobility of personnel differs substantially across levels of governance. Compared to state officials, national officials exhibit statistically significant (at the 0.01 level) fewer mean years per location (see exhibit 4). Geographic mobility traditionally has been important for career success in the U.S. Forest Service (Kaufman 1960), and it continues to be important in the agency. For example, one Forest Service employee in case 1 said, "I would not have been able to advance my career without having traveled to gain diverse work experiences." Another said, "It's rare for someone to be promoted in place." Such mobility may lead to public administrators seeking to foster and use citizen input in decision making.(9)
Exhibit 4 Statistical Test of Differences Between State and National Agency Personnel Mobility
Mean Number of Standard Pooled t-test Agency N Years per Location Deviation t-value p-value National 42 5.1 3.02 State 44 7.3 3.52 Combined 86 2.99 0.0037
This study examines a basic question: In a federal system such as the United States, do officials at lower levels of governance foster and incorporate citizen input in policy making more than officials at higher levels do? Certainly the claims by devolution proponents suggest an affirmative answer. They argue that policy devolution is a useful means for bringing government policy making closer to the people. However, the analysis that has been presented here casts doubt on this claim. Comparing citizen participation efforts and influence in public forest policy suggests that the opposite may be true; national agency officials tend to make greater efforts, as measured above, than do state officials to involve citizens in policy making. This difference is most evident in mailings and public meetings, but it also is apparent in the combination of other efforts to increase public participation. Moreover, national officials in this study are more likely to indicate that they seek public input in order to incorporate citizens' knowledge and preferences into policy. State officials, on the other hand, are more likely to engage in public participation activities that might increase citizen support for agency policies determined without significant public input. Thus, in the four cases that we have examined, both the efforts to foster citizen participation and the influence of such participation appear to be greater at the national than at the state level.
While the small number of cases in this study precludes extensive quantitative analysis, the careful selection of eight agencies in four states allows a meaningful comparison of participation across levels of governance. The distinct state and national patterns found across these diverse cases (see the appendix) suggest the possibility of a broader applicability of this study's results. Moreover, it is important to note that rules from NEPA and APA apply to more than just public forest management; all federal agencies are bound by these requirements. Thus the results of this study may hold in other policy sectors in the United States. Future research might profitably explore this question.
A fundamental component of this study involved the gathering of data from agency officials and citizens to develop meaningful indicators to measure the extent and influence of citizen participation. Fruitful further research would extend indicators used in this analysis to a greater number of cases and policy sectors. For example, the measure of officials' efforts to encourage citizen participation can be extended. In the absence of prior agreement in the literature about the most appropriate types of efforts to measure, the interviews in this study allowed officials to define the most significant activities themselves. Using the information in this study, a standard questionnaire listing participation-fostering activities could be administered to a larger number of agency officials across more agencies. Similarly, in this study, numerical comparisons of agency officials' stated purposes for engaging in efforts to involve the public relied on categorization developed from interview data. Using these three categories, more extensive research could be collected with a standard survey instrument. Questions asking respondents to prioritize among listed purposes could be used to generate statistically comparable data.
Such research extensions would be useful to increase our understanding of the extent and influence of citizen participation across levels of governance. As proponents of policy devolution strive to change the locus of policy responsibility, we must carefully examine the arguments and weigh the likely effects of such change. So long as an important criteria for change is the degree to which government is close to the people, the question of citizen participation at various levels of governance will be crucial for both scholars and policy makers.
Exhibit 2 Summary of Officials' Efforts to Encourage Citizen Participation
Agency With Greater Efforts Indicator Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 Mailings National National National National Public meetings National -- National National Working groups -- -- -- State Other National -- National --
Italics indicates support for hypothesis 1 -- neither is substantially greater
(1) Of course, there may be other reasons to favor devolution, in terms of costs, efficiency, efficacy, innovation, or other criteria, but evaluation of these multiple criteria is beyond the scope of this study.
(2) Officials differentiate between formal and informal meetings, based on several factors. Formal meetings tend to have a structured format with an agenda and discussions among all participants. Informal meetings feature individual officials who mingle and discuss issues with a few people at a time, without extended discussions among all participants.
(3) It should be noted that national officials also held many public meetings and provided numerous opportunities for public input at the time they were creating the Siuslaw National Forest Plan prior to 1995.
(4) Of course, interview responses may not always represent the underlying reasons; it is possible for interviewees to misstate their true purposes. Guarantees of interviewee anonymity and multiple interviews with multiple officials in each agency were intended to minimize such problems.
(5) A growing literature on client service examines public administrator efforts to improve service. The focus of this study, however, is on public administrator communication with citizens as a means to affect the formulation of agency decisions about forest management. In this light, client service as a purpose for soliciting public input is not taken as an indicator of the amount of citizen influence in agency decision making about forest management.
(6) Some interviewees listed one reason, while others listed multiple reasons.
(7) Another way would be to instill in agency officials values that favor encouraging citizen participation. Survey data collected for the Koontz (1997) study indicated that state and national officials did not differ significantly with regard to their values about encouraging citizen participation.
(8) Two-sample pooled t-test, one-tailed to test the hypothesis that national forest management officials perceive more pressure on legislators by preservation interest than state officials do.
(9) Another interesting factor to examine, from a public management perspective, is the public administrator's training and exposure to management techniques that emphasize meaningful inclusion of citizen input. Unfortunately, such data are not available for this analysis. Future research should include careful attention to the extent and nature of continuing education opportunities presented to foresters. Moreover, educational background in terms of degree work should be emphasized, particularly in light of the evolution of forest resource curricula from the traditional focus on growth, extraction, and use of forest resources (prevalent while many of the interviewees completed their degrees) to a more multiple-faceted treatment of forest values and aims in the past decade (see Raphael 1981, 205; Fisher 1996). Most officials in this study shared forestry as a common disciplinary background (64 percent and 75 percent, respectively, of all national and state officials interviewed). Their course composition as related to planning, stakeholder communications, ethics, and other management topics is not known.
(10) 1993 USDA Forest Service, Forest Statistics for Ohio. Radnor, Penn.: Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 12-13.
(11) 1990 USDA Forest Service, Indiana's Timber Resource. St. Paul, Minn.: North Central Forest Experiment Station, 1-8.
(12) 1995 U.S. Department of Commerce, Regional Economic Information System (CD-ROM). Washington, D.C.: Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Measurement Division, May.
(13) 1995 U.S. Department of Commerce, 1992 Census of Manufactures, Industry Series, Logging Camps, Sawmills, and Planing Mills (CD-ROM). Washington, D.C.: Economic and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census.
Brody, Richard. 1978 "The Puzzle of Political Participation in America." In Anthony King, ed. The New American Political System, 287-324. Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute.
Buckwalter, Doyle; Parsons, Robert; and Wright, Norman. 1993 "Citizen Participation in Local Government: The Use of Incentives and Rewards." Public Management 75 :(Sept.): 11-15.
Campbell, Angus. 1960 The American Voter. New York: Wiley.
Cole, Richard L. 1975 Citizen Participation and the Urban Policy Process. Lexington, Mass.: Heath.
Culhane, Paul. 1981 Public Lands Politics: Interest Group Influence on the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Fiorina, Morris. 1981 Retrospective Voting. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Fisher, Richard F. 1996 "Broader and Deeper: The Challenge of Forestry Education in the Late 20th Century." Journal of Forestry 94:3:4-8.
Force, Jo Ellen, and Williams, Kevin L. 1989 "A Profile of National Forest Planning Participants." Journal of Forestry (Jan.):33-38.
Gordon, Mark C. 1996 "Differing Paradigms, Similar Flaws: Constructing a New Approach to Federalism in Congress and the Court." Yale Law and Policy Review/Yale Journal on Regulation Symposium: Constructing a New Federalism. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Law & Policy Review and Yale Journal on Regulation.
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Differences Across the Four Cases
While it is not possible to claim full generalizability from the comparative study of four cases, careful case selection to increase variance enhances generalizability. In this study, an important criterion for forest pair selection was variance on a number of factors. Primary differences can be seen in comparing forests in Ohio (case 1) and Indiana (case 2), in the Midwest, with forests in Washington (case 3) and Oregon (case 4), in the Northwest. Specifically, cases in the Midwest differ from those in the Northwest with regard to forest type, quantity of forested land, forest contiguousness, and timber industry size.
Forest type, identified by dominant tree species present, differs across the two regions. In the Midwest, the most common forest type is deciduous hardwoods. Specifically, the largest percent of the timberland across Ohio is in the oak-hickory group, followed by the northern hardwoods group, which includes maple and beech species. Together these groups include about 84 percent of the timberland in the state.(10) In Indiana, the dominant species group across the state is maple-beech, followed by oak-hickory, which together total 71 percent of timberland in the state.(11) However, in the Northwest region, conifers dominate. The most common forest type in both Washington and Oregon is Douglas fir and associated conifers.
Quantity of forested land also differs between these regions. In Ohio, eight million acres of land are forested, which represents about 30 percent of the total state land area. In Indiana, four million acres, about 20 percent of the state land area, are forested. There is a significantly higher quantity of forest land in the Northwest. In Washington, about twenty million acres, nearly 50 percent of the state, is forested, while in Oregon, about twenty-eight million acres, again nearly half of the state's land base, are in forest cover.
While the states in the Northwest have a higher quantity of forest land, they also have more contiguous forest land. Large blocks of forested area are located throughout the mountainous regions in both states. This is primarily a result of ownership history, as-Theodore Roosevelt and other presidents designated national forests on land that had not yet left the public domain. In the Midwest, the national forests were pieced together several decades later, from abandoned private holdings, on land that had long been disposed of by the federal government.
Differences in the forest resource are reflected in the timber industries in these states. States in the Midwest have a substantially lower lumber and wood product value. In Ohio, lumber and wood production accounted for approximately $917 million in 1992, which was 0.4 percent of the gross state product.(12) Similarly, in Indiana, lumber and wood production in the same year were valued at $1,021 million, or 0.8 percent of the gross state product. In contrast, in Washington, lumber and wood production in 1992 totaled $3,078 million, or 4.9 percent of the gross state product, and in Oregon these same industries accounted for $2,297 million, or 1.8 percent of the gross state product. The higher timber production values in the Northwest also are reflected in the size of the work force. Personnel employed in logging and lumber mills in 1992 totaled 24,600 in Washington and 20,300 in Oregon, compared to just 2,800 in Ohio and 5,100 in Indiana.(13)
The author wishes to thank Elinor Ostrom, Rosemary O'Leary, and four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Funding was provided by NSF grant number SBR-9319835 and the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University.
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|Author:||Koontz, Tomas M.|
|Publication:||Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1999|
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