Interest group opinions about fuel reduction in southern AppalachiaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Opinions of interested publics and interest groups (n = 640) about fuel reduction (FR) in the Southern Appalachian Mountains were investigated through social survey using both pictorial and written questions. The study identified three discrete groups based on knowledge of forest history in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, attitudes toward social and ecological changes due to FR, credibility of public land management agencies as managers of forests, aesthetics of FR areas, and recreation activity participation. Results identified three groups of concerned publics labeled as conservation oriented, naïve perceptual, and preservation oriented. The conservation-oriented group was accepting of FR for specific reasons; the naïve-perceptual group disliked even minor charred views and stumps; the preservation group was skeptical of FR and characterized by wanting nature to be left alone. Detail rich results provide guidance in constructing different educational and persuasive messages specific to each of these three groups about forest management through FR in Southern Appalachia.