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  • Thus communication becomes a vital aspect of the adaptive management process.
  • Message content Requires an understanding source credibility, potential receivers of the message, preferences and availability of channels, and situational factors
  • People who lived within census blocks overlapping US Forest Service Land People participating in hiking, equestrian, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, camping, climbing, picnicking and Revolutionary War reenacting were approached on public forest lands Conservation, Preservation, Hiking and hunting clubs approached by email

Fire Study Fire Study Presentation Transcript

  • Fuel Reduction Communication Strategies for Land Managers Carin E. Vadala, Robert D. Bixler Jeffrey J. Bransford Thomas A.Waldrop This study was funded by the Southern Research Station, Center for Forest Disturbance Science Research Work Unit
  • Introduction
    • Increasing need for public involvement in management decisions (Shindler & Mallon 2006)
    • Social science aspect of ecosystem management
      • Public involvement in decision making
      • Social considerations of understanding ecosystems (Endter-Wada, Blahna, Krannich & Brunson 1998)
    • Importance of communication with stakeholders on fuel reduction techniques
  • Literature Review
    • Stages of Communication (Ajzen 1992) include :
    • Source Credibility
    • Characteristics of persons
      • demographics, attitudes of people in fire prone areas, knowledge of forest and fire ecology, agencies, and ecological and aesthetic perceptions of fuel reduction techniques (Shindler & Neburka 1997; Toman, Shindler & Brunson 2006; Toman, Shindler & Reed 2004)
    • Channel of delivery
      • multiple approaches are needed
      • Local fire departments, main stream media (Brunson & Shindler 2004; McCaffrey 2004; Shindler & Toman 2003; Toman, Shindler & Brunson 2006)
    • Situational Factors
      • Have a role in local fire planning
      • Creating defensible space around their homes (McCaffrey 2004)
      • Use of fuel reduction techniques (Brunson and Shindler, 2004)
    • Message Content
  • Literature Review
    • Studies of public support and knowledge have concentrated in the Pacific Northwest (Shindler & Neburka 1997; Toman, Shindler & Brunson 2006; Toman, Shindler & Reed 2004)
    • Little is known in the southern Appalachian region except from the perspective of land managers (Haines et al 2001)
  • Problem Statement
    • The purpose of the study was to identify segments of stakeholders involved with forest issues in the southern Appalachian Mountains based on visual preferences for managed areas, knowledge, and attitudes about outcomes of fuel reduction. Then further describe each segment in ways that help forest managers contact and communicate effectively with them.
  • Methods
    • Sampling designed to encourage participation from interested individuals only
    • Surveyed homeowners, recreationists, interest groups.
    • Initial contact made by mail or internet with one reminder.
    • Final sample size was 640
    • Cluster analysis used to identify segments
    • Additional variables tested across segments
  • Results Characteristics the three Segments were based on: Categories/Variables (reliability score) Let Nature Takes its Course (LNTC) Management for Human Benefits (MHB) Visually Appealing (VA) Knowledge of Southern Appalachian Ecology and Fuel Reduction Effects Medium -.20 High .82 Low -.57 Changes/Acceptability Factors --Decreased soil and water qualities (.60) Low -.30 High .31 Medium .08 --Reduction in rhododendron, mountain laurel, wildflowers (.84) Low -.45 High .83 Medium -.23
  • The Segments cont. Changes/Acceptability Factors LNTC MHB VA --Improve habitat for non-game animals (.88) High .41 High .52 Low -1.1 --Easier to see and walk through the forests, new plant growth (.75) Low -.77 High .87 Medium .12 --Prevent damage from wildfires to property (.83) Low -.53 High .52 Medium .10 --Residual burn marks on trees and reduced air quality (.78) Low -.41 High .98 Low -.48 --Improve game habitat, turkey, deer, trout and increase blueberry shrubs (.69) Low -.11 High .36 Low -.21 --Increase standing dead and downed trees (.78) Medium .24 High .38 Low -.61
  • The Segments cont. Perceptual evaluation (photo preference scales) LNTC MHB VA Charred areas evident with sprouting stumps, moderate visibility (.85) Medium -.01 High .37 Low -.33 Forest floor with rhododendron , limited visibility (.68) High .43 Medium -.02 Low -.48 Deep visual penetration, smooth ground surfaces (.72) Low -.06 High .23 Low -.14
  • Too Summarize…
    • Three robust groups of involved publics were identified
    • Let Nature Take Its Course —Prefer visually untouched areas, intolerant of change, dislike change in species composition .
    • Management for Human Benefits —Prefer visually open woods with deep visual penetration, management induced change acceptable, high knowledge.
    • Visually Appealing —Low knowledge, preferring perceptually pleasing forests.
    • … Now, what else do they believe and where and how to communicate with them?
  • Attitudes: Management of Forests abc Means with different superscripts are significantly different. Variable (reliability score) LNTC MHB VA F Uses of forests for economic and utilitarian benefits (.84) Low -.53 a High .63 b Medium .06 c 58.17 Limit management of forests (.65) High .45 a Low -.51 b Medium .07 c 46.07 Forests managed through fire or accidental fires are less enjoyable (.68) High .34 a Low -.63 b High .28 a 57.90 Support for government management of forests (.75) Low .41 a High .59 b Low -.20 a 46.98 Prefer federal government management over state (.86) High .36 a Medium -.07 b Low -.31 b 7.59
  • Preference: Recreation Activities abc Means with different superscripts are significantly different. Recreation Activities (reliability score) LNTC MHB VA F Deer, turkey, bear hunting and fishing (.87) Low -.36 a High .45 b Medium .01 c 35.67 Tent camping, backpacking, kayak, canoe, mountain biking (.75) High .27 a High .20 a Low -.49 b 35.91 Wildlife watching, photography, birding, wildflowers (.76) High .27 a High .10 a Low -.42 b 27.14 Recreational driving to view scenery and RV camping (.68) Low -.24 a High .11 b High .18 b 10.62 Collecting edible berries, herbs or mushrooms (.78) High .04 a High .21 a Low -.25 b 9.73 Trail running, geocaching, orienteering (.68) High .19 a High .06 a Low -.33 b 9.68 Horseback riding on trails -.02 -.03 .06 .428
  • Attention Paid to, and Perception of Forest Health abc Means with different superscripts are significantly different. LNTC MHB VA F Rating of the health of Southern Appalachian Forests Medium -.002 ab High .14 a Low -.15 b 3.74 Rating of the health of Southern Appalachian Forests in your area .03 .08 -.11 1.7 Attention paid to forest issues or problems Medium .03 a Low -.38 b High .31 c 24.15 How well informed about forest conditions in Southern Appalachians Medium .09 a Low -.45 b High .29 c 29.06 How often are visits made to forests in Southern Appalachians Medium -.03 ab Low -.09 a High .13 b 2.37 Priority to environmental or economic conditions Low -.51 a High .24 b High .39 b 53.21
  • Awareness and Support of Fuel Reduction *p<.01 Segment (Expected) Chi-Square Phi LNTC MHB VA Have you heard of Mechanical Fuel Reduction Yes 98 (109) 133 (96) 71 (98) 52.02* .31 No 95 (84) 37 (74) 102 (76) Support of Prescribed fire or Mechanical Fuel Reduction Yes 115 (149) 149 (119) 126 (122) 63.79* .35 No 82 (48) 8 (38) 36 (40)
  • Club and Organization Membership *p<.01 Segment (Expected) Chi Square Phi Type of club/organization LNTC MHB VA Timber or other forest products Yes 39 (54) 77 (42) 27 (47) 54.28* .31 No 176 (161) 92 (127) 159 (139) Hunting Yes 47 (71) 88 (56) 53 (61) 40.01* .26 No 169 (145) 84 (116) 134 (126) Historical/cultural preservation Yes 63 (54) 50 (44) 32 (47) 9.57* .13 No 151 (160) 121 (128) 153 (138) Environmental preservation Yes 128 (91) 66 (70) 46 (78) 48.86* .29 No 89 (126) 101 (97) 140 (108)
  • Club and Organization Membership cont. *p<.01 Segment (Expected) Chi Square Phi Type of club/organization LNTC MHB VA Environmental conservation Yes 134 (118) 126 (95) 54 (101) 75.29* .36 No 82 (98) 48 (79) 131 (84) Hiking clubs Yes 85 (59) 35 (47) 37 (51) 25.47* .21 No 129 (155) 135 (123) 149 (135) Fishing Yes 52 (64) 70 (51) 50 (57) 14.94* .16 No 159 (147) 97 (116) 137 (130)
  • Demographics *p<.01 LNTC MHB VA F Year of Birth Younger 1957 a Younger 1957 a Older 1952 b 7.47 Yearly income High 3.94 a High 3.99 a Low 3.12 b 16.49 Education High 12.37 a High 12.77 a Low 10.12 b 48.55 Segment Chi Square Phi LNTC MHB VA Male 141 (154) 145 (128) 127 (131) 14.51* .16 Female 66 (53) 26 (44) 49 (45) Taken more than four biology courses in college Yes 61 (77) 102 (65) 20 (41) 60.78* .37 No 123 (107) 53 (90) 78 (57)
  • *p<.01 Demographics cont. Segment Chi Square Phi LNTC MHB VA Current home located In a city 33 (27) 22 (22) 16 (22) 24.26* .21 In a small town 47 (41) 39 (34) 22 (34) On a farm 16 (20) 15 (17) 23 (17) In a suburb 30 (28) 29 (23) 15 (23) In the country 76 (87) 64 (73) 91 (72) Livelihood dependent on timber Yes 23 (34) 47 (29) 22 (29) 20.70* .20 No 178 (167) 122 (140) 151 (144) Livelihood dependent on special forest products Yes 12 (20) 26 (17) 16 (17) 8.97* .13 No 186 (178) 143 (152) 157 (156)
    • Least preferred utilitarian uses of the forest
    • Was less likely to support government management of forests, yet preferred federal over state management
    • camping, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, mountain biking, geocaching, trail running, and orienteering as well as wildlife watching, bird watching, viewing wildflowers and nature photography
    • Visited often, tended to rate the forests of Southern Appalachian as moderately healthy, pay moderate attention to and being moderately informed about the forest conditions
    • Members of historical, cultural, environmental and preservation groups
    Let Nature Take its Course
  • Management for Human Benefits
    • Preferred that forests be managed for economic/utilitarian benefits but also non-game wildlife
    • “ People should have more respect for forests”
    • Prefer forest management by state government
    • Fishing and hunting deer, turkey and bear and scored high on many other activities
    • Paid little attention but believe forest is relatively healthy
    • Most likely to have heard of mechanical fuel reduction and support it as well as prescribed fire
  • Visually Appealing
    • Moderate in preferences of economic benefits and limiting forest management
    • Least support of government management and preferred state management over federal
    • Potentially enjoy the forest less if they knew that a fire had occurred, regardless of whether the fire was prescribed or accidental
    • Recreational driving, RV camping and horseback riding
    • Believe they are highly informed about forest conditions but are not.
    • Visited forests more often
  • Fuel Reduction
    • Detailed description of knowledge, attitudes and values of interested publics
    • Public support of fuel reduction techniques is varied
    • Negative public opinion in the southeastern United States is the top ranked barrier to implementing fuel reduction (Haines et al 2001)
    • Persuasive communication & trust
      • Develop an open interactive communication strategy (Toman, Shindler & Brunson 2006)
  • Implications
    • Judge when and where to use fuel reduction techniques
      • depending on the perceptual characteristics of each technique and who will observe the outcomes
    • Peripheral routes to persuasion
      • Visually appealing segment
    • Direct routes to persuasion
      • Let Nature take Its Course (i.e. nongame issues)
      • Managed for Human Benefit (i.e. both game and nongame)
    • Carefully judge who should deliver messages based on trust
    • Good luck finding the Visually Appealing Segment!
  • Questions?