Canadian Forest Service Publications

Public perceptions of natural disturbance in Canada's national parks: the case of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins). 2006. McFarlane, B.L.; Stumpf-Allen, R.C.G.; Watson, D.O. Biological Conservation 130(3): 340-348.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26252

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

Since the 1990s, the mountain pine beetle (MPB) population has exploded in western Canada. In national parks, MPB has the potential to impact visual quality and safety of visitors, and to spread beyond park boundaries to the industrial forest landbase. Control measures have been initiated in some parks to lessen these impacts. A study was undertaken to examine public attitudes, knowledge, issue salience, and management preferences for MPB in Banff and Kootenay national parks. Data were collected by mail survey in 2003 from 1385 residents living in or near the parks. MPB was an important issue for the majority of respondents and they had low knowledge of MPB, expressed negative attitudes towards it, and supported measures to control it. Preferred control measures included those directed at the current infestation. Proactive approaches in uninfested forests were generally not supported. Issue salience and knowledge were the best predictors of attitudes toward the MPB. Attitudes were the best predictors of support for no intervention in beetle infestations in national parks. Management implications include the lack of knowledge and support for natural disturbance and ecological integrity policies in national parks.