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People, Place, and Politics: The Role of Place Attachment and Conflict in Forest Communities

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For this study we wanted to identify the meanings (shared and contested) that family forest landowners in rural western Washington assigned to their properties in the context of a rapidly urbanizing environment. Two categories of family forest landowners emerged with respect to the acceptance of the proposed growth management plan and corresponded to the degree of attachments the interviewees exhibited regarding where they lived and in how they described themselves with respect to the community and a dispute regarding the plan. For the long-term residents, their attachment to place provides the foundation for their ties to family and tradition. Although the newcomers interviewed expressed emotional attachments to the area, their attachments were not necessarily tied to their identity, or within any historical context. For the newcomers, involvement in local land-use planning may serve to reinforce the significance of the attachments they developed to their adopted home and strengthen their desire that the area remain pristine.

Keywords: family forests; place attachment; political activism; urbanization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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