Skip to Main Content
Public preferences for future conditions in disturbed and undisturbed northern forest sitesAuthor(s): Terry C. Daniel
Source: In: McCaffrey, S.M., tech. ed. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 53-61.
Publication Series: Other
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (503.44 KB)
DescriptionThis study presented computer visualizations (pictures) of projected changes over an 80-year period to conditions in a northern forest that had been hit by a major blowdown. Study participants included local residents and forest visitors who were asked to choose between visualizations of projected outcome scenarios for 10 pairs of treatment versus no-treatment options for representative forest sites. Visitors and residents both generally preferred salvage-and-plant treatment scenarios for disturbed sites (where virtually all trees had been blown over) over no-treatment (natural regeneration) alternatives. In contrast, both residents and visitors consistently preferred no-treatment alternatives over treatments (thin, or thin and plant) for undisturbed sites. These preferences were also consistent with frequently expressed opinions that forest managers should "fix broken sites," but "leave unbroken sites alone." Because respondents based their preferences only on how a forest would look as depicted in the computer visualizations and not on the treatments that could produce a particular look, the study provides a systematic confirmation of publicly expressed predispositions. The study also shows that realistic and biologically accurate visualizations of future forest conditions can help translate complex biophysical data into a format that concerned citizens can understand. Such carefully created visualizations can aid manager-public communication in a number of contexts including informal "what-do-you-think-about-this" conversations, formal public meetings, research focus groups, and systematic national surveys of public opinion.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationDaniel, Terry C. 2006. Public preferences for future conditions in disturbed and undisturbed northern forest sites. In: McCaffrey, S.M., tech. ed. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 53-61.
Keywordscommunication, fuels treatments, defensible space, wildfire management, social acceptance, education, wildland urban interface
- Expanding the Use of Visualization Technology: 3D Modeling
- Recreational use management and wildfires in Southern California: Using GIS and visual landscape simulation models for economic assessment
- Using forest vegetation simulator to aid communications between natural resource managers and stakeholders
XML: View XML