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Conservation Land Trusts and Wildfire Management: Understanding Conservation Priorities of Key Stakeholders in California, Oregon, and Washington using Q Methodology
AuthorDavis, Acadia W.
AdvisorOrmerod, Kerri Jean
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In the western United States, there is growing overlap between the need for wildfire management and stewardship of conserved land. Conservation land trusts (CLTs) play an integral role in the stewardship of open space and definition of the land conservation agenda and could play a pivotal role in future wildfire management efforts. There is a relative lack of research, however, on if and how these stakeholders prioritize wildfire management among competing stewardship and conservation goals. This research investigates the conservation priorities of key stakeholders of CLTs in California, Oregon, and Washington that identify “working forestland” as a high priority using Q Methodology. This study identifies two stakeholder perspectives: the Ecocentric and Biocentric and finds a high level of consensus among respondents. The Ecocentric perspective prioritizes the restoration of natural systems while the Biocentric perspective more heavily focuses on the health of human communities. Both perspectives agree on the relative importance of wildfire management, which was identified as an area of consensus and ranked as a moderate priority by both, which suggests that it is best integrated with other complimenting conservation priorities. This study contributes to the scholarship on land conservation and wildfire management by identifying and measuring prominent stakeholder perspectives on what should be prioritized in the conservation of land by CLTs in three wildfire prone states and by investigating the intersection between these two social-ecological systems during a time of climatic and systemic change.