The effects of place meanings and social capital on desired forest management outcomes: A stated preference experiment

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22 Scopus citations


Planners and managers responsible for public-trust resources are often faced with making difficult value-laden decisions requiring trade offs between alternative, and often competing, outcomes. To make more informed decisions within volatile socio-political climates, resource managers and planners need an understanding of the benefits local community members would like the resource to produce, and an understanding of the social and psychological factors that influence those preferences. In this research, we focused on two increasingly important factors - social capital and place-based social-psychological attachments - that influence public preferences for management outcomes. We conducted a stated preference field experiment on residents living in three forest related communities within Southern Appalachia in the Southeastern United States. The experiment elucidated responses to hypothetical management plans designed to produce distinctly different outcomes. The results reveal ecologically focused management plans were the most preferred, much more so than plans designed to produce aesthetic, recreational, or economic outcomes. The data also reveal both individuals' stocks of social capital as well as their place-based social-psychological attachments influence evaluation of competing management outcomes. Our methodological approach and empirical findings advance both the analytical approaches used to study multiple use public resources and existing knowledge regarding how social and psychological factors influence individuals' decision-making processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 30 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a doctoral dissertation improvement grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1030395 ) and a Hoffmann Fellowship from the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University . The authors would like to thank Dr. Ed Kick, Dr. Hugh Devine, and Hollie Smith for their comments and suggestions.


  • Intra-community social networks
  • Public choice
  • Random utility model
  • Ranked logit
  • Trust


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