1st Edition

Forensic Forestry A Guidebook for Foresters on the Witness Stand

By Robert P. Latham Copyright 2022
    144 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    144 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

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    Forensic Forestry: A Guidebook for Foresters on the Witness Stand is a one-of-a-kind, hands-on resource for those forestry and land use professionals called upon to work on legal cases and testify in court. Land use and forestry issues in the United States, in particular—and likewise around the world—have become increasingly contentious, scrutinized, and debated. There is little to suggest that conflicts over forestlands will cease in the near future, in fact, quite the opposite.

    There are already a number of informative books available on land use and forestry, and related issues under the broader heading of environmental science. As such, while this book will not go into these concepts in detail, if someone is already an expert in land use and forestry, this book will tell them the ins and outs of the legal system and how they can best serve to make a case, using evidence, in a court of law. Coverage addresses the necessary background, and legwork involved, in providing technical expertise for such cases to be adjudicated. Since professionals’ expertise is often focused on ecological issues, chapters look at the economic factors and how money, policy, and corporate interests come into play—the crux of where the professional forester’s ability to present evidence and expertise becomes critical.

    The author provides an overall understanding of the courts, and the legal process. Coverage includes recommendations to professionals working on cases—and in the courtroom—in how to present evidence and testify in cases over land use and forestland rights, forestry management and safety, criminal and civil cases in liability in forest fires—among myriad others.

    Key Features:

    • A book by a professional for professionals in the field of forestry and those called to testify in cases of forest and wildfires, eminent domain, land disputes, tort, and liability cases
    • Written in easy-to-read, non-technical jargon to provide tools to best serve as an expert witness and consultant to support attorneys in civil and criminal cases
    • Details unique, real-world cases study examples, detailing how they were adjudicated based on evidence and testimony provided
    • Presents a legal background into the court system, courtroom procedure, the types of legal cases as they relate to forensic forestry

    As such, Forensic Forestry is a welcome addition to those professionals called upon to consult on, and testify in, such cases including land use professionals, foresters and forestry managers, ecologists, environmentalists, environmental policy advocates, and those in related fields.

    Acknowledgements and Appreciations. About the Author. Preface. 1. The Court Systems in the U.S. The rancher and the oil well. 2. How Litigation Works A deposition on a damage appraisal. 3. The Role of the Forensic Professional The McWilliams death sentence. 4. Forensic Litigation: Establishing the Facts. A tale of two timbermen – in court. 5. Forestry Litigation: The Context for Complex Cases. 6. Forestry Litigation: Finding Values. The Redwood NP expansion. 7. Forestry Litigation: Assessing Damages. Alleged forest mismanagement on the Klamath Indian Reservation. 8. Forestry Litigation: Evaluating Management. Alleged forest mismanagement on the Navajo Indian Reservation. 9. Forestry Litigation: Contention in Public Administration. The Linn County vs Oregon timber case. 10. Forestry Litigation: Techniques of Presentation. The case of the revealing histogram. 11. Recap of Critical Forensic Issues and a Glimpse of the Future. Appendix A: Errors, Biases, and Variability: The Impact on Model Output Glossary. Glossary. Index.


    Now semi-retired, Dr. Robert Latham enjoyed a long and interesting career as a professional forester and economist. Managing public and private forestland and, later, his own forestland was the focus of much of his work. He also did teaching and research in an academic setting for some satisfying years. For almost three decades he operated a consulting firm that dealt with natural resources issues for a wide variety of clients including many forensic projects. He and his wife, Dr. Connie Georgiou, now live in Corvallis, Oregon, and on a large timbered ranch in eastern Oregon. At the appropriate time, his ashes will be scattered there, under a big ponderosa pine.