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A survey of bushwalkers and off-road cyclists on the acceptability of forest management activities in Perth, Western Australia

Beckwith, J.A., Clement, S.E. and Moore, S.A. (2010) A survey of bushwalkers and off-road cyclists on the acceptability of forest management activities in Perth, Western Australia. In: 5th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 2 - 5 August, Cambridge, UK.


Forested catchments along the Darling Scarp are important sources of water for Perth and other areas of Western Australia. These areas of State Forests, National Parks and Crown land are appealing for recreation and tourism, particularly in a growing city where natural areas are in decline. However, streamflows to dams have been in decline in these catchments since the 1970s due to climate change and increased vegetation density. To explore the impact of forest management (e.g. thinning) on streamflows, the Water Corporation is undertaking a research trial in the Wungong catchment, Western Australia. If applied to other areas, this could impact a large number of people, particularly nature-based recreationalists (e.g. bushwalkers and off-road cyclists). This study explored the impact of the forest thinning on individual perceptions of (a) forest health, (b) scenic beauty and (c) recreational value. An online questionnaire was developed to survey forest and water resource managers, bushwalkers and off-road cyclists. Photo-realistic simulations of the management options were developed to show the forest after treatment and over time (i.e. up to 70 years in the future). Environmental orientation and forest management beliefs were also surveyed. Results suggest a common conceptual model of management acceptability for managers, bushwalkers and off-road cyclists. Group membership, environmental values orientation and disciplinary training were key variables in this model. The results highlight the challenges of using data from social science research projects, in which variables are isolated, to natural resource management decisions, in which they are not. The survey results will be discussed in detail, with an emphasis on their implications for conducting social science studies that are be applied to natural resource management decisions.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
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