Date of Award

2004

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Andrew F. Egan

Second Committee Member

John J. Daigle

Third Committee Member

Donald A. Stubbs

Abstract

Throughout northern New England and across the country, increasing populations and the exurbanization of rural forested landscapes have had a tremendous impact on forest management. As forested areas become more populated, society has become more exposed to the sights and sounds associated with different forest operations. As a result, aesthetics are increasingly driving public reaction to and concern about forestry practices, especially timber harvesting. How people perceive forestry harvesting can be significant in defining the future of forest management, particularly in more populated woodlands. The objective of this study was to better understanding public values as they relate to timber harvesting, especially as it occurs in forested residential areas and other places where people come in contact with working forests. Our goal was to develop information that will help NIPF owners and foresters better fit timber harvesting into the flow of community life, with all of its constraints, rather than to expect communities to adjust to the temporary inconveniences often associated with the conduct of logging. By utilizing videography, media editing technology, focus groups, and a written survey, this research was able to assess and compare the visual and aural qualities of five timber harvest yarding methods based on a battery of attributes and situations. The operations evaluated consisted of a forwarder, a rubber-tired cable skidder, a bulldozer, a farm tractor, and a workhorse. This study was successful in clarifying the aesthetic preferences of these yarding methods among a subsample of the general public, as well as among members of forestland owners associations in the northern New England region. In addition, this study investigated the relationships between several possible explanatory variables (e.g., age, education) and respondents’ preferences for the logging methods studied. Throughout much of the video survey, response patterns were very similar between the general public, represented by students, and landowners, represented by landowner group association members. Though acceptability ratings and preference rankings of the timber harvest yarding methods were similar, statistical tests (e.g., chi-square analysis, polytomous logistic regression, and repeated measures analysis of variance) revealed significant differences that existed between the two populations.

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