Climate Change Attitudes of Southern Forestry Professionals: Outreach Implications
Management and Policy Implications The scientific literature generally recommends that foresters facilitate climate change adaptation by managing for (1) resistance to the forces of climate change, (2) resilience to climate change to absorb impacts without losing function, (3) responding to climatic transitions to minimize negative impacts, and (4) realigning altered forests to current climatic conditions through restoration (Vose et al. 2012). Specific management actions recommended to help southern forests adapt to climate change, such as thinning to reduce water stress, vary, depending on each site's unique management objectives, stand characteristics, and climate change impacts. This study is not designed to refine the climate-resilient management toolkit, but rather to enhance educators' understanding of foresters' climate change attitudes. The results indicate that demographic characteristics shape climate change attitudes in ways comparable to those for the general public. Further, foresters' climate change attitudes, personal observations, concerns about impacts to forestry, and management actions are closely intertwined. This observation suggests that outreach aimed to implement climate-resilient adaptive management strategies will require a nuanced approach to effectively reach all foresters. We conclude that communicators should avoid emphasizing climate change to doubting foresters and instead lead with potential impacts to forest health and productivity (such as drought and pests), continuing to outline and encourage appropriate management solutions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2016
This article was made available online on February 25, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Climate Change Attitudes of Southern Forestry Professionals: Outreach Implications".