Southern forest resource assessment: Conducting science in the public eye
Questions about the long-term sustainability of southern forest benefits, including wildlife habitat, water quality, and timber supply, prompted this regional assessment and guided the process by which it was conducted. SFRA’s final report is descriptive—not prescriptive—and is intended to inform debate and policymaking in technically defensible, unbiased, and understandable terms. Although the analysis was science based and peer reviewed, the public helped frame the questions and critique the answers. This article describes the process used to complete the assessment and draws out several general observations about conducting a scientific analysis of this scope in a public setting.