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What’s Important in Forest Planning?

The 2011 Proposed Planning Rule outlines and discusses the forest planning processes that Forest Service units must follow. If it is adopted, it will replace the 1982 Planning Rule. You haven’t seen the Proposed Rule? You can find it here –> fs.USDA.gov/planningrule.

So what’s important about it? Oh, don’t bore me with another academic comparison between the 1982 Rule and this new one – please. Instead, plug it into Wordle and let’s see what comes up. (Full disclosure: I had to massage the text, you know, to take out words like “proposed,” “rule” and “plan,” or else they would have blocked out everything else.) What did I get? Take a look.

Do you see what I see? Responsible Official. Information. Objection. Requirements. Amendment. So that’s what the national agency thinks is important, huh?

The Proposed Rule was open for commenting, both internally and to the public, until around mid-May of this year. My teammate, Matt, suggested I do another Wordle with the comments that folks submitted, and compare. Great idea, right? So when the comments from Region 5 Forest Service employees were consolidated and submitted to the Washington Office, I took that document and plugged the text into Wordle. Here is what I got:

And here we can compare these two graphics and see what’s important to Region 5 employees. Humans as a component of the ecosystem. Scenery. Place and Sense-of-place. Social communities. Sustainability.

Of course, there are several terms that show up large in both graphics. So if you’re looking for values that are shared between the national and regional levels (management, change, monitoring, etc.) you can do that.

I’d like to make a Wordle out of the public comments, too! They are posted on the Proposed Rule’s content analysis site, but they’re in 2,140 separate pdf files, so that would take me, …let’s see, let me do the math real quick… a REALLY LONG TIME to consolidate them into one word document that I could then paste into Wordle.

What do you think is important in forest planning? If you’d like to discuss your answer with others who care, join OurForestPlace. That’s what we built it for. See you there!

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