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Public perceptions of county, state, and national forest management in Wisconsin, USA

Floress, Kristin, Vokoun, Melinda, Huff, Emily Silver, Baker, Melissa
Forest policy and economics 2019 v.104 pp. 110-120
citizen participation, forest management, forest policy, forests, models, national forests, outreach, planning, public opinion, recreation, regression analysis, stakeholders, state forests, summer, wildlife, Wisconsin
Attitudes toward public forest management actions can be sources of conflict among and between public stakeholders and managers. Understanding these forest stakeholders can help managers engage in planning processes more effectively. Residents of fifteen counties in Wisconsin were surveyed in summer 2013 to understand how management attitudes impacted respondents' acceptance of management at three levels of publicly managed forest: county, state, and national. Results from regression models reveal that similar attitudes consistently impacted stakeholders' acceptance of fire, timber, wildlife, and recreation management for county and state forests, but only the timber and wildlife management models were significant for the national forest. Forest managers can use these results to understand public perceptions of forest management, identify opportunities for outreach to stakeholders, and for alternative or complementary methods of public involvement in planning. There is increasing social pressure on forest managers that arises from public perceptions and can directly influence U.S. forest policy. Policymakers and managers can use this attitudinal information as one method of public involvement and to develop additional engagement tools.