Landscape Scale Management in the Ouachita Mountains - Where Operational Practices Meet Research
Implementation of ecosystem management on National Forest System lands in the Southern Region requires that the best available science be applied to support forest management practices. On the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas, personnel from the Jessieville and Winona Ranger Districts and the Southern Research Station have developed working relationships that demonstrate how to conduct research in an operational context. Research projects on the districts' lands include GIS applications as well as landscape studies of vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, aquatic ecology, and social sciences. Advantages to the research community include in-kind staff support, study designs that reflect real-world issues, permanence and protection of plot identity, and opportunities to tap into monitoring funds. The cultural differences of time constraints and expected resource outputs that exist between Federal land managers and the research community are more challenging to overcome. The key elements outlined in this case study have application to research on National Forest System lands throughout the South.