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Reimagining Family Forest Conservation: Estimating Landowner Awareness and Their Preparedness to Act with the Conservation Awareness Index

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The Conservation Awareness Index (CAI) is a new, necessary survey instrument designed to assess family forest conservation progress. This article describes the rationale, development, and pilot testing of the CAI, which estimates family forest owner awareness (including familiarity, knowledge, and experience) of forest conservation options and sources of information. Administered to 500 randomly selected Massachusetts family forest owners and 64 benchmark landowners, results indicated instrument validity and revealed low conservation awareness among random respondents, especially regarding estate planning and conservation easements. Distance from land, education level, ownership size, and location were related to conservation awareness. Applications of the CAI include understanding family forest owner preparedness to make informed decisions about their land, improving outreach interventions, and measuring the spatial and social dynamics of conservation awareness over time.
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Keywords: assessment; awareness; family forest owner; forest conservation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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