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Family Forest Owners and Climate Change: Understanding, Attitudes, and Educational Needs

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Abstract:

Twenty-four focus groups were held throughout the Pacific Northwest to assess family forest owners' perceptions, understanding, and educational needs related to climate change and its potential impacts on family-owned forests. Participants cited many information sources and often referenced personal observations and connections. Perceptions of climate science were mixed, but skepticism was common, particularly regarding the extent to which research is driven by politics, money, or ideology. Participants were uncertain about possible climate change impacts but expressed concern about both biophysical and sociopolitical dimensions. Most participants did not expect to make significant changes to their management in anticipation of climate change. However, many participants wanted to learn more about climate change and how it might affect their forests. Results of these focus groups should provide insights for integrating climate science into extension programming in a variety of contexts, and suggestions for future extension programming are presented.

Keywords: climate change; communication; extension; family forest owners

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5849/jof.12-052

Publication date: March 24, 2013

More about this publication?
  • 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.
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