Date of Award

Winter 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Russell G Congalton

Second Advisor

Joel Hartter

Third Advisor

Lawrence C Hamilton


Rural counties in the Inland Northwest have a ‘working lands’ culture that supports livelihoods dependent on the health of wildfire-prone private and public forests. Wildfires threaten economic livelihoods and exacerbate the challenges of working landscapes impacted by changing economies, demographic trends, and forest conditions. The main objectives of this thesis are to investigate: 1) what comprises amenity-driven migration and how are amenity- driven migration and wildfire severity related?; 2) are amenity-driven migrants engaged in forest management activities in Wallowa County, Oregon and what is forest management engagement?; 3) how does landowner parcel proximity from WUI, USFS land relate to perspectives of healthy forest, wildfire risk and how do geographic characteristics of amenity- driven migration relate to landowner perceptions of forest community transitions?

First, amenity-driven migration is defined as depending on natural amenities, seasonal homes, protected area, older adult net migration rate, and creative industry using a principal component analysis. Generalized least squares modeling of the Inland Northwest from 1992- 2009 indicates significant statistical relationships between amenity-driven migration, urbanization and drought with annual burned acres on USFS land. Second, interviews with thirty non-industrial private forest landowners from Wallowa County, OR, emphasize the importance of a clear definition of forest management engagement. Interviews outline two varying types of forest management engagement as: 1) engagement on own forestland; 2) engagement in the broader community forest management. Third, interviews with thirty non-industrial private forest landowners from Wallowa County, OR emphasize that landowner perspectives of changing Wallowa County community dynamics are more prominent for landowners who dwell near their forest parcels. Furthermore, analyses of the qualitative interviews emphasize the continued need for forestry information outreach to landowners in or nearby the WUI to clarify forest management understanding. This research is especially useful for residents, landowners and policy-makers to better understand transitions faced by NIPF owners on the landscape and community level when establishing forest management and land use policies within wildfire- prone landscapes.