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Public Land Management and Quality of Life in Neighboring Communities—The Chugach National Forest Planning Experience

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Quality of life (QOL), by almost any definition, is important to people. We apply the concept to the relationship between rural communities and public land management. A 1999 study of residents in 12 communities neighboring the Chugach National Forest in Alaska was used during the revision of the Forest's land and resource management plan to assess the relationships between quality of life components and possible management activities being considered. Specifically, we addressed the following five questions: (1) What QOL components are most important to residents of the 14 neighboring local communities? (2) How satisfied are residents with the current status of the QOL components in their communities? (3) How do local respondent perceptions of QOL component importance compare with those of their peers nationwide? (4) If proposed forest management activities may adversely affect resident perceptions of QOL, what are the possible consequences to the communities? (5) How prepared are the communities to address any possible adverse consequences on their own? Our findings confirm that the Forest, probably not unlike other public land management units, has the ability to affect the quality of life of the communities neighboring it for better or for worse. However, the degree to which the communities' residents themselves are prepared for such change is equally significant. FOR. SCI. 49(4):479–498.

Keywords: Community resilience; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; importance-performance analysis; natural resource management; natural resources; public land management; scoping

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Regional Social Scientist USDA Forest Service Region 10 (Alaska), 3301 C Street, Suite 300, Anchorage, AK, 99503, 907-743-9571 2: Senior Lecturer School of Environment and Recreation Management, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5081, Phone: 61-8-8302-3110; Fax: 61-8-8302-5082

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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