Public preferences for nontimber benefits of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands regenerated by different site preparation methods
This study assesses public preferences for nontimber benefits of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.)stands regenerated 1.5 yr earlier using different site preparation treatments at national forest and industrial forestry sites. Treatments tested on the Tuskegee National Forest were none, chainsaw felling, tree injection, and soil-active herbicide. At the industrial site, experimental treatments included chopping and burning, followed by no additional treatment, woody control, herbaceous control, and total control. Both sites were planted with loblolly pine seedlings. Two user surveys employing color photography were conducted to identify the respondents ratings of the young stands in term of perceived nontimber benefits, including aesthetics, picnicking, hiking/walking/cycling, camping, hunting, bird watching, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity. The site preparation treatments were ruled without consideration of the treatment cost and its distribution. Results indicate that the respondents preferred the minimal or no treatment options at both study sites. The respondents preferences were significantly affected by their age, education, income, employment status, and living distance from the experimental sites, but not gender. Respondents considered wildlife habitat as the most important benefit and hunting as the least important. Most of the respondents also felt that both nationalforests and industrial forests should be managed for nontimber as well as timber products.