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A Comparative Analysis of Conservation Awareness among New York and Massachusetts Woodland Owners

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The Conservation Awareness Index (CAI) is a survey instrument used to assess how prepared family forest landowners are to make informed decisions about their land. First developed in Massachusetts, we report results of its application in New York. Administered to 496 randomly selected New York family forest landowners and 158 benchmark landowners who had received conservation training, results confirmed instrument validity and exposed low levels of awareness about conservation options among forest landowners in the study, especially concerning New York's current-use tax program and conservation easements. Education level, ownership acreage, and location were associated with higher levels of conservation awareness. A comparative analysis between New York and Massachusetts forest landowners revealed significantly higher levels of conservation awareness for the New England state's landowners. The CAI can be used to improve outreach efforts by targeting education toward the conservation options for which landowners have low levels of awareness. A high level of conservation awareness is the foundation for informed forest stewardship decisions.
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Keywords: awareness; forest management; index; nonindustrial private forest owners; woodland owners

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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