This research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Coupled Human and Natural Systems program through award number 0816475.
Wildfires -- research, Wildfire risk -- United States
Private landowners in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA were surveyed. The survey queried probabilities of implementing specific fuels reduction projects in extensive areas of specific forest types on their property. The projects were described in relation to the beginning and target forest types, the actions required, costs, and long-term maintenance. Forest types were first rated for scenic beauty and informed levels of wildfire risk reduction, scarce habitat production, and associated property rights risks. Propensities to perform each fuels reduction project were then obtained. These were adversely affected by disbelief in heightened wildfire risks or climate change, higher project costs, feelings of hopeless vulnerability to wildfire, and low aesthetic affections for target forests. Propensities were enhanced by aesthetic affection for target forests, belief in the efficaciousness of fuels reduction, previous experience with wildfire evacuation, and higher incomes. All landowners favored thinning of young conifer forests, but some were averse to thinning of mature conifer forests. Anthropocentric landowners, mainly farmers, foresters, and some small holders, tended to favor conventional thinnings toward commercially valuable conifer forests and avoided long-term habitat maintenance. Nature-centric landowners, mainly some rural residents and wealthy estate owners, leaned more toward long term habitat goals and oak forests.
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Ribe, R. G., Nielsen-Pincus, M., Johnson, B. R., Enright, C., & Hulse, D. (2022). The Consequential Role of Aesthetics in Forest Fuels Reduction Propensities: Diverse Landowners’ Attitudes and Responses to Project Types, Risks, Costs, and Habitat Benefits. Land, 11(12), 2151.