On-site public evaluations on the use of prescribed fire and mechanical thinning Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5m60qv34n

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  • The forest health of the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington has sustained great impacts primarily caused by disease and insect epidemics. In order to restore forest health and reduce fuel loads, management tools like prescribed fire and mechanical chinning are being tested by forest managers in the region' s national forests. However the public's willingness so support and accept use of these treatments on a broad scale is problematic Site visits can be a useful tool used to assess citizen’s reactions to these management practices. This thesis describes findings from a series of sire visits where 31 citizens evaluated prescribed fire and mechanical thinning treatments in the national forests of she Blue Mountains. On-site survey questions were devised to compare answers to a mail questionnaire previously completed by the same individuals earlier in 1996. Questions were designed to examine how site visits influence public opinion, the effect of site recovery on acceptability, if knowledge of objectives influenced ratings, and other factors which may influence response to treatments. Open-ended questions were used to capture initial reactions to the treated sites and to allow individuals to identify site factors of greatest concern to them. Although site visits did not increase acceptability ratings of these treatments, participants easily identified those factors of greatest importance to them. These included remaining fuel levels, evidence of treatments, forage levels, and thinning intensity. Site recovery also did not increase ratings though there was a positive correlation between public knowledge of site specific objectives and greater acceptance of the sites. Again, the level of fuel left on site was a important evaluating factor followed by the 'cleanliness' and 'greenness' of treated sites. Use of site visits and implications for management are discussed.
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