Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Zhao Ma


Zhao Ma


James Long


Barbara Bentz


Paul Rogers


As climate change becomes more problematic for the Forest Service (FS) and other federal land management agencies in the U.S., it has become increasingly important to understand how their employees view climate change and related challenges. This study examined how FS employees in the Intermountain West view forest management in the face of climate change, what barriers and opportunities they see in terms of dealing with climate change, and how different levels of agency management view climate change-related issues differently. This study found that many FS employees believe climate change is an important issue; however, they have not done much to deal with climate change due to a lack of time, funding, and personnel. This study also identified a communication gap regarding climate change information sharing between higher-level decision makers and on-the-ground forest managers. To improve its ability to deal with climate change, the FS needs to encourage knowledge sharing among employees across different levels, and to help forest managers see how climate change affects their work and what they can do locally to tackle climate change-related issues. It also needs to create more opportunities for forest managers to provide feedback and get involved in higher-level climate change-related policy making so their knowledge and expertise can be used to help generate solutions to solve forest management problems locally.