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Article

Public Attitudes about Private Forest Management and Government Involvement in the Southeastern United States

1
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801, USA
2
Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
3
School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32609, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(9), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090776
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 25 August 2019 / Published: 6 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science)
In the southern United States the country’s top wood-producing region, factors such as intergenerational land transfer and population spillover from urban areas have resulted in forestland conversion and reduced production of critical ecosystem services associated with forest systems (e.g., timber, clean water supply, wildlife habitat). Public attitudes, which drive forestland policy prescriptions, may also be evolving due to the way people experience and perceive forests (e.g., recreation), and think about the role of government in private forest decisions. These changes have significant implications for forestland management and the forest-based economy, both locally and globally. We present the results of a regional survey (n = 1669) of residents in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, which assessed attitudes toward timber harvesting and government involvement on private lands. We found significant public support for timber harvesting with a somewhat stronger focus on ecosystem maintenance compared to timber production, and strong support for policies that empower landowners (e.g., assistance programs) over regulatory strategies. We conclude that existing government policies and programs are failing to help landowners meet public demand for ecosystem service provision on private forest lands in the southeastern US. Public attitudes appear conducive to innovative policy strategies such as market-based solutions and nudges. Perceptions of forest health will likely be the metric the public and landowners will use in assessing the value of policy alternatives, in addition to economic impact. Public ignorance and indifference towards forest management also appear to be growing. View Full-Text
Keywords: attitudes; education; timber harvest; government regulations; landowner incentives; forest policy attitudes; education; timber harvest; government regulations; landowner incentives; forest policy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kreye, M.M.; Rimsaite, R.; Adams, D.C. Public Attitudes about Private Forest Management and Government Involvement in the Southeastern United States. Forests 2019, 10, 776. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090776

AMA Style

Kreye MM, Rimsaite R, Adams DC. Public Attitudes about Private Forest Management and Government Involvement in the Southeastern United States. Forests. 2019; 10(9):776. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090776

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kreye, Melissa M., Renata Rimsaite, and Damian C. Adams 2019. "Public Attitudes about Private Forest Management and Government Involvement in the Southeastern United States" Forests 10, no. 9: 776. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090776

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