How do we know what
"Gie me a spark o'
That's a' the learning I desire."
—Robert Burns, "First Epistle to J. Lapraik,"
Recent catastrophic wildfires in Western forests make apparent the need
to adopt different management practices based on scientific research.
Interpreting the science is a complex endeavor. Many different plans of
action can arise from scientific data.
process of developing new forest policy gets even more complex when political
interests get involved. Science may attempt to be objective, but policy
arises from political interpretations of science. Good policy uses accurate
science and takes realistic stock of political forces. Careful study of
of both science and politics helps to ensure the implementation of good
great variety of information sources contribute to a broader understanding
of Western forest fire issues. Online sources
provide up to the minute updates on news events, science, and politics.
Books give in-depth analysis. Some journal
articles inform professionals on technical matters, while others serve
to educate the general population. Every day information appears in the
news on the whole range of forest concerns.
Multi-media resources such as films and videos can make vivid the
consequences of catastrophic wildfire. Deeper understanding can be obtained
by attending conferences, workshops and public
Democracy depends upon an informed public. Everyone can make a difference
by becoming informed and getting involved.
May 14, 2003
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