Modelling associations between public understanding, engagement and forest conditions in the Inland Northwest, USA.
ABSTRACT: Opinions about public lands and the actions of private non-industrial forest owners in the western United States play important roles in forested landscape management as both public and private forests face increasing risks from large wildfires, pests and disease. This work presents the responses from two surveys, a random-sample telephone survey of more than 1500 residents and a mail survey targeting owners of parcels with 10 or more acres of forest. These surveys were conducted in three counties (Wallowa, Union, and Baker) in northeast Oregon, USA. We analyze these survey data using structural equation models in order to assess how individual characteristics and understanding of forest management issues affect perceptions about forest conditions and risks associated with declining forest health on public lands. We test whether forest understanding is informed by background, beliefs, and experiences, and whether as an intervening variable it is associated with views about forest conditions on publicly managed forests. Individual background characteristics such as age, gender and county of residence have significant direct or indirect effects on our measurement of understanding. Controlling for background factors, we found that forest owners with higher self-assessed understanding, and more education about forest management, tend to hold more pessimistic views about forest conditions. Based on our results we argue that self-assessed understanding, interest in learning, and willingness to engage in extension activities together have leverage to affect perceptions about the risks posed by declining forest conditions on public lands, influence land owner actions, and affect support for public policies. These results also have broader implications for management of forested landscapes on public and private lands amidst changing demographics in rural communities across the Inland Northwest where migration may significantly alter the composition of forest owner goals, understanding, and support for various management actions.
Project description:Understanding ownership effects on large wildfires is a precursor to the development of risk governance strategies that better protect people and property and restore fire-adapted ecosystems. We analyzed wildfire events in the Pacific Northwest from 1984 to 2018 to explore how area burned responded to ownership, asking whether particular ownerships burned disproportionately more or less, and whether these patterns varied by forest and grass/shrub vegetation types. While many individual fires showed indifference to property lines, taken as a whole, we found patterns of disproportionate burning for both forest and grass/shrub fires. We found that forest fires avoided ownerships with a concentration of highly valued resources-burning less than expected in managed US Forest Service forested lands, private non-industrial, private industrial, and state lands-suggesting the enforcement of strong fire protection policies. US Forest Service wilderness was the only ownership classification that burned more than expected which may result from the management of natural ignitions for resource objectives, its remoteness or both. Results from this study are relevant to inform perspectives on land management among public and private entities, which may share boundaries but not fire management goals, and support effective cross-boundary collaboration and shared stewardship across all-lands.
Project description:With growing demands on forests, there is a need to understand the drivers of managing the forest for diverse objectives, such as production, recreation, and climate adaptation. The aim of this study was to examine the knowledge and value basis of forest management behaviors, including different management strategies and management inactivity, among private forest owners in Sweden. Different dimensions of knowledge (declarative and procedural knowledge, assessed in terms of objective and subjective knowledge measures) and value priorities (basic values and forest values), as well as the role of forest owner identity, were examined. The study was conducted by means of a postal questionnaire to a random sample of private forest owners in Sweden (n?=?3000, response rate 43%). The distinctions between actual knowledge (objective knowledge), confidence (subjective knowledge), and value priorities, in addition to the hierarchical structure of how these factors are linked to management behaviors, proved to be valuable. Results revealed that different knowledge dimensions and value priorities were jointly important for forest management behaviors. In addition, the role of forest owner identity for management behaviors was confirmed. Insights from the study may be used to develop policy and outreach to private forest owners and thereby facilitate different forest functions in private forestry.
Project description:This article presents data from a recent mail survey of forest landowners regarding their land ownership characteristics and motivations, past and future management activities, and owner perceptions of bioenergy and its impact on forests. The data presented in this article are related to the research article entitled 'Opportunities and Attitudes of Private Forest Landowners in Supplying Woody Biomass for Renewable Energy' . The survey was conducted in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the United States, where two primary ports exporting wood pellets to Europe are located. Specifically, the data include responses on forest characteristics, forest management activities, knowledge and interest in woody biomass for energy production, and sociodemographic variables. Additionally, landowner decisions for supplying wood for traditional forest products and biomass for energy were modeled. More than 2900 forest landowners were contacted, with 707 owners providing completed surveys.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>An estimated four million and 43 million people in Canada and the USA use private water supplies. Private water supplies are vulnerable to waterborne disease outbreaks. Private water supplies in Canada and the USA are often unregulated and private water management is often a choice left to the owner. Perceptions of water quality become important in influencing the adoption of private water stewardship practices, therefore safeguarding public health.<h4>Methods</h4>We conducted a systematic literature review to understand factors that shape perceptions of water quality among private water users. We searched six computer databases (Web of science, Medline, Scopus, EBSCO, PubMed and Agricola). The search was limited to primary peer-reviewed publications, grey literature and excluded conference proceedings, review articles, and non-peer review articles. We restricted the search to papers published in English and to articles which published data on surveys of private water users within Canada and the USA. The search was also restricted to publications from 1986 to 2017. The literature search generated 36,478 records. Two hundred and four full text were reviewed.<h4>Results</h4>Fifty-two articles were included in the final review. Several factors were found to influence perceptions of water quality including organoleptic preferences, chemical and microbiological contaminants, perceived risks, water well infrastructure, past experience with water quality, external information, demographics, in addition to the values, attitudes, and beliefs held by well owners.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Understanding the factors that shape perceptions of water quality among private water users is an important step in developing private water management policies to increase compliance towards water testing and treatment in Canada and the USA. As many jurisdictions in Canada and the USA do not have mandatory private water testing or treatment guidelines, delineating these factors is an important step in informing future research and guiding policy on the public health of private water systems.
Project description:Available research on the link between domestic cats' environment and welfare has primarily been conducted in animal shelters or research facilities; a better understanding of the welfare of cats living in homes is needed. This study measured the attitudes of current U.S.-based cat owners towards cats as pets; owner knowledge about normal cat behavior and environmental needs; current trends in cat care; cats' behavior in the home; and the human-animal bond. The primary hypothesis was that owners with a more accurate understanding of cat behavior and a stronger reported bond with their cats would report fewer behavior problems. Data from an online, anonymous, cross-sectional survey of 547 cat owners supported the primary hypothesis: owner knowledge, along with two measures of the human-animal bond (owner-pet interactions, and perceptions of affordability of cat ownership), were significant predictors of the number of reported behavior problems. In addition to fewer reported behavior problems, greater owner knowledge about cats was correlated with less use of positive-punishment-based responses to misbehavior, and increased tolerance of potential behavior problems when present. Owners' agreement with certain misconceptions about cats and perception of high costs of care were correlated with the use of positive punishment in response to misbehavior. Based on the survey results, many cats living in private homes may be receiving only minimal environmental enrichment. Collectively, these results suggest the need for better education of cat owners. Topics could include: understanding normal cat behavior and correcting misconceptions; enrichment needs (particularly of indoor-only cats) and the risk of behavior problems when cats' needs are not met; welfare risks associated with declawing; and the importance of sufficient resources to minimize social and territorial conflict.
Project description:Forest landscapes provide benefits from a wide range of goods, function and intangible values. But what are different forest owner categories' profiles of economic use and non-use values? This study focuses on the complex forest ownership pattern of the River Helge å catchment including the Kristianstad Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve in southern Sweden. We made 89 telephone interviews with informants representing the four main forest owner categories. Our mapping included consumptive and non-consumptive direct use values, indirect use values, and non-use values such as natural and cultural heritage. While the value profiles of non-industrial forest land owners and municipalities included all value categories, the forest companies focused on wood production, and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency on nature protection. We discuss the challenges of communicating different forest owners' economic value profiles among stakeholders, the need for a broader suite of forest management systems, and fora for collaborative planning.
Project description:Most evaluations of the effectiveness of PAs have relied on indirect estimates based on comparisons between protected and unprotected areas. Such methods can be biased when protection is not randomly assigned. We add to the growing literature on the impact of PAs by answering the following research questions: What is the impact of Chilean PAs on deforestation which occurred between 1986 and 2011? How do estimates of the impact of PAs vary when using only public land as control units? We show that the characteristics of the areas in which protected and unprotected lands are located differ significantly. To satisfactorily estimate the effects of PAs, we use matching methods to define adequate control groups, but not as in previous research. We construct control groups using separately non-protected private areas and non-protected public lands. We find that PAs avoid deforestation when using unprotected private lands as valid controls, however results show no impact when the control group is based only on unprotected public land. Different land management regimes, and higher levels of enforcement inside public lands may reduce the opportunity to add additional conservation benefits when the national systems for PAs are based on the protection of previously unprotected public lands. Given that not all PAs are established to avoid deforestation, results also admit the potential for future studies to include other outcomes including forest degradation (not just deforestation), biodiversity, wildlife, primary forests (not forests in general), among others.
Project description:Individual behavior is influenced by factors intrinsic to the decision-maker but also associated with other individuals and their ownerships with such relationship intensified by geographic proximity. The land management literature is scarce in the spatially integrated analysis of biophysical and socio-economic data. Localized land management decisions are likely driven by spatially-explicit but often unobserved resource conditions, influenced by an individual's own characteristics, proximal lands and fellow owners. This study examined stated choices over the management of family-owned forests as an example of a resource that captures strong pecuniary and non-pecuniary values with identifiable decision makers. An autoregressive model controlled for spatially autocorrelated willingness-to-harvest (WTH) responses using a sample of residential and absentee family forest owners from the U.S. State of Missouri. WTH responses were largely explained by affective, cognitive and experience variables including timber production objectives and past harvest experience. Demographic variables, including income and age, were associated with WTH and helped define socially-proximal groups. The group of closest identity was comprised of resident males over 55 years of age with annual income of at least $50,000. Spatially-explicit models showed that indirect impacts, capturing spillover associations, on average accounted for 14% of total marginal impacts among statistically significant explanatory variables. We argue that not all proximal family forest owners are equal and owners-in-absentia have discernible differences in WTH preferences with important implications for public policy and future research.
Project description:Strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions through forestry activities have been proposed, but ecosystem process-based integration of climate change, enhanced CO2, disturbance from fire, and management actions at regional scales are extremely limited. Here, we examine the relative merits of afforestation, reforestation, management changes, and harvest residue bioenergy use in the Pacific Northwest. This region represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 y or more. Oregon's net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) was equivalent to 72% of total emissions in 2011-2015. By 2100, simulations show increased net carbon uptake with little change in wildfires. Reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increase NECB 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Resultant cobenefits included water availability and biodiversity, primarily from increased forest area, age, and species diversity. Converting 127,000 ha of irrigated grass crops to native forests could decrease irrigation demand by 233 billion m3?y-1 Utilizing harvest residues for bioenergy production instead of leaving them in forests to decompose increased emissions in the short-term (50 y), reducing mitigation effectiveness. Increasing forest carbon on public lands reduced emissions compared with storage in wood products because the residence time is more than twice that of wood products. Hence, temperate forests with high carbon densities and lower vulnerability to mortality have substantial potential for reducing forest sector emissions. Our analysis framework provides a template for assessments in other temperate regions.
Project description:Despite the important role of antimicrobial use in companion animals in the global challenge presented by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), very few studies have quantified pet owner factors that can contribute to suboptimal veterinary antimicrobial use. We conducted an online survey of pet owners, asking about their experiences with veterinarians, their opinions on antibiotic use and knowledge of antibiotics, and their communication preferences regarding judicious prescribing. Just over half (54%) of the 558 pet owners had received antibiotics for their pet at their last non-routine veterinary consultation and most owners were happy (83%) with the antibiotic prescribing decision of their veterinarian. A quarter (25%) indicated that they had been surprised, disappointed or frustrated when a veterinarian had not given their pet antibiotics; 15% had explicitly requested them. Owners placed a higher priority on their pet receiving the most effective treatment than on treatment being cheap or convenient. Most respondents recognized the limitations of antibiotic therapy and the risks associated with antibiotic use, but 50% believed the risks were confined to the treated animal; only a minority was aware of inter-species transfer of bacteria. Pet owners indicated that they would find judicious prescribing messages focused on the direct risks of antibiotics to their pet more compelling than those about public health. Our findings suggest that veterinary communications about responsible antibiotic use should focus on pet owners' priorities and address or bypass their gaps in understanding regarding antibiotic resistance.