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Title: U.S. Policy Response to the Fuels Management Problem: An Analysis of the Public Debate About the Healthy Forests Initiative and the Healthy Forests Restoration Act

Author: Johnson, Jayne Fingerman; Bengston, David N.; Fan, David P.; Nelson, Kristen C.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 59-66

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) and Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) represent major policy and legislative responses to the fuels management problem in the United States. This study examined the nature and evolution of the public discussion and debate about these policy responses. Computer content analysis was used to analyze favorable and unfavorable beliefs about HFI / HFRA expressed in about 2,800 news stories published from August 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004. The most frequently mentioned favorable beliefs that emerged included the view that HFI / HFRA will (1) reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, (2) protect people, communities, and property, and (3) cut red tape and speed up decision making processes. The most commonly expressed unfavorable beliefs included the view that HFI / HFRA (1) is an excuse to increase logging, (2) will weaken environmental protections, and (3) will reduce public input. Some evidence was found of a growing consensus on the problem of fuel buildup and the need to reduce the risk of wildfire. But mistrust was found to be an ongoing issue as the HFRA is implemented. Building public trust will be a key to continuing to gain support.

Keywords: fire, fire ecology, fuels management, Healthy Forests Initiative, HFI, Healthy Forests Restoration Act, HFRA, public discussion, public trust

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Johnson, Jayne Fingerman; Bengston, David N.; Fan, David P.; Nelson, Kristen C. 2006. U.S. Policy Response to the Fuels Management Problem: An Analysis of the Public Debate About the Healthy Forests Initiative and the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 59-66

 


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