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Public Attitudes and Affective Beliefs about Early- and Late-Successional Stages of the Great Northern Forest

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Occurrence of the early successional stage of forests (i.e., 20 years old or less) has declined since 1980 throughout the Great Northern Forest (GNF) of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. To help forestry professionals and land managers better understand the human dimensions of this change in successional diversity, we conducted a mail survey with stratified, random samples of 2,000 rural and 2,000 nonrural households within the GNF. We assessed affective beliefs and attitudes toward early successional and late-successional (i.e., 100 years old or more) stages of the GNF and attitudes toward the use of timber management to sustain the early successional stage. We found no differences between rural and nonrural respondents with respect to attitudes or affective beliefs. Indeed, all GNF residents have positive attitudes toward both early- and late-successional stages, with the most positive attitudes associated with the older forest stage. Similarly, although residents expressed positive affective beliefs about both stages, the late-successional stage elicited the most positive emotional responses. Both rural and nonrural residents expressed relatively positive attitudes toward use of timber management to sustain early successional stages. Similarities in attitudes and beliefs among rural and nonrural residents suggest that communities of more similar interests than expected occur throughout the GNF, with respect to forest management goals and strategies.
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Keywords: Great Northern Forest; affective beliefs; attitudes; early successional stage; forest management; late-successional stage

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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