Using Rapid Rural Appraisal Tools to Explore Gender and Forests in the Global North

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Six Rapid Rural Appraisal tools were tested by exploring four questions about gender and forests in two communities in the State of Washington. Tools selected include: Who Counts Matrix, Pebble Sorts (2), Participatory Mapping, Visioning, and an Interview Guide. The resulting data were supplemented by a questionnaire and ethnographic methods. The four questions asked whether men and women think differently about the forest, engage with the forest differently, go to different natural places, and have different visions of the future of the forest and their community. The results showed surprisingly comparable engagement with the forest by men and women and similarities in their visions of the future. In contrast, differences were found in the ways women and men think about the forest and the places they visit. The significant demographic shift toward an older population was also of interest. The use of Rapid Rural Appraisal tools in this setting was instructive, and further application is warranted, particularly when considering collaborative forest management.

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