The postdoctoral researcher will conduct social science research examining how stakeholders and policymakers perceive the outcomes, uncertainties, and risks of a 20-year long adaptive management program. The postdoctoral researcher will lead all aspects of the project while working closely with the principal investigator, Dr. Alex McInturff of the USGS Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Washington, and with scientists and managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
BACKGROUND AND DUTIES:
This position will examine Washington’s Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (FP HCP), which covers 9.3 million acres of commercial forestlands and has the following goals:
1. Comply with the Endangered Species Act for aquatic and riparian dependent species. 2. Support a harvestable supply of fish by restoring and maintaining riparian habitat.
3. Meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act for water quality.
4. Keep the timber industry economically viable in the state of Washington.
When the rules underlying the FP HCP were agreed to by private stakeholders, tribal governments, and state and federal natural resource agencies, there were multiple scientific uncertainties regarding their expected effectiveness. As a consequence, the FP HCP included an adaptive management program (AMP), which has grown to be perhaps the largest nonfederal adaptive management program in the United States. Two decades of AMP research have yielded substantial findings about the effects of forest practices on wildlife, fish, and water. However, differing risk perceptions and uncertainties among participating groups, as well the decision- making process itself, have made translating findings into policy a complicated and contentious process.
The postdoctoral researcher will lead research with the goal of understanding how participating groups perceive the AMP’s outcomes, and how these perceptions weigh in policy decisions. The postdoctoral researcher will consider the influence of scientific uncertainty, risk, and the AMP’s formalized decision-making process on driving these perceptions. Ultimately, this research will not only improve the AMP, it will also serve as a major case study for understanding how stakeholder perceptions influence environmental policy outcomes.
We are seeking an enthusiastic and organized researcher with a Ph.D. in environmental social science to lead this research. Candidates for this position should have experience conducting research with diverse stakeholder groups around contentious environmental problems, proficiency in qualitative and quantitative methods, excellent written and personal communication skills, and the desire to publish reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. Experience with Q-methodology is preferred.
Jan. – Dec. 2022 (12 months, with possibility of extension)
Interested candidates should email an application to Dr. Alex McInturff (email@example.com)