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Examining the social acceptability of forest biomass harvesting and utilization from collaborative forest landscape restoration: A case study from western Colorado, USA

Posted date: January 10, 2018
Publication Year: 
2017
Authors: Western, Jessica M.; Cheng, Antony S.; Anderson, Nathaniel (Nate); Motley, Pamela
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Journal of Forestry. 115(6): 530-539.

Abstract

Collaborative efforts have expanded in recent years to reduce fuel loads and restore the resilience of forest landscapes to future fires. The social acceptability of harvesting and using forest biomass associated with these programs are a hot topic, with questions about the extent to which collaboration can generate unified acceptance. We present results from a Q-Method study of the variation of acceptability judgments of participants engaged in the Uncompahgre Plateau Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project in western Colorado in the United States. Four factors encompassing discourses of acceptability judgments were identified: protecting and conserving ecosystem health and wildlife habitat, supporting local wood products industry, supporting biomass utilization to reduce waste, and protecting and sustaining multiple use. Consensus judgments include perceptions that biomass harvesting can help fund restoration treatments to create a win-win situation and that collaboration is the preferred strategy to arrive at win-win outcomes. Our results indicate that the acceptability of forest biomass harvesting and utilization from the project is conditional on other values, some of which are in tension with one another. Collaboration is a beneficial strategy to elicit varying stakeholder perspectives, but substantive differences in acceptability judgments are likely to persist based on competing values.

Citation

Western, Jessica M.; Cheng, Antony S.; Anderson, Nathaniel M.; Motley, Pamela. 2017. Examining the social acceptability of forest biomass harvesting and utilization from collaborative forest landscape restoration: A case study from western Colorado, USA. Journal of Forestry. 115(6): 530-539.