Canadian Forest Service Publications

Social concerns, risk and the acceptability of forest vegetation management alternatives: insights for managers. 2011. Wyatt, S.; Rousseau, M-H.; Nadeau, S.; Thiffault, N.; Guay, L. The Forestry Chronicle 87(2): 274-289.

Year: 2011

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33010

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Although public opinion and social issues have significant influence on policy-making, research on forest vegetation management (FVM) in Canada has a strong focus on biological aspects, with less attention being paid to social concerns. This paper reviews the social context in which FVM occurs. Individual views about FVM reflect a combination of values, beliefs, and attitude while also including differing perceptions of risks. Public views and the broader social acceptability of management decisions can be linked to five key factors: context, risk, aesthetics, trust, and knowledge. Judgements about acceptability will usually change over time and across specific situations and various segments of a population could make opposing judgements. We identify a variety of public concerns related to FVM in Canada, synthesizing research that can help resource managers consider the social impacts of their choices. We also note particular concerns related to Aboriginal peoples and the FVM workforce. Information about the benefits and disadvantages of FVM options can help resolve public concerns, but using technical information to convince the public is rarely successful. Forest management agencies and resource managers need access to reliable information about social values and concerns to make management decisions that will be socially acceptable.