US national forest policies regarding logging: A case study of citizens and scientists in the Chattahoochee National Forest

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This article explores how differences in scientist and citizen mental models regarding logging in a US national forest can lead the two groups to support divergent policies, although they agree about the goals that logging policies should achieve in the forest. A case-study methodology of logging in the Chattahoochee National Forest in the United States is used. The case study is informed by two methods: in-depth interviews and a written questionnaire. The in-depth interviews were conducted with both scientists and citizens to elicit their mental models regarding logging in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Upon completion of the in-depth interviews, respondents were asked to complete a written questionnaire that elicited demographic information, as well as information regarding management goals for the forest. We conclude that scientists and citizens agree about the management goals for the Chattahoochee National Forest, but differences in the mental models of the two groups regarding the scientific effects of logging cause disagreement about the optimal logging policy option required to achieve those goals. The article considers the implications of the case study findings for risk communication and public involvement in environmental decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages18
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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