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Comparing land manager and community perceptions of a Colorado prescribed fire outreach program
Researchers and practitioners often emphasize the importance of effective community engagement around forest management projects to address possible barriers to implementation related to a lack of social acceptance. Using qualitative methods, we examined a public outreach program to understand the goals and perceptions of those providing and receiving information about forest management. We found that many community members were initially drawn to learn about wildfire risk mitigation, but their informational needs shifted toward broader forest ecology over time, suggesting that communication strategies and topics must also evolve over time. Some common terms used by land management professionals were unclear to public audiences, sometimes leading to feelings of dissatisfaction with outreach. One-on-one meetings and experiential group learning were perceived by information providers and community members to be useful strategies for outreach. Our findings can be used to improve ongoing outreach in this study area and inform similar efforts elsewhere.
Novak, Katie McGrath; McCaffrey, Sarah; Schultz, Courtney A. 2022. Comparing land manager and community perceptions of a Colorado prescribed fire outreach program. Journal of Forestry. https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvac026.