Title: Shared values and trust: The experience of community residents in a fire-prone ecosystem
Author: Winter, Patricia L.; Cvetkovich, George T.
Source: In: Pye, John M.; Rauscher, H. Michael; Sands, Yasmeen; Lee, Danny C.; Beatty, Jerome S., tech. eds. 2010. Advances in threat assessment and their application to forest and rangeland management. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-802. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations. pp. 409-418
Description: The risk and impact of fires have been significant on the San Bernardino National Forest. It is important to understand how residents of areas surrounded by the forest perceive the impact of fires. If fire management agencies understand these perceptions, fire management agencies will be better equipped to communicate with publics about risk-reduction efforts that agencies, community residents, and property owners need to take. Issues of interest include residents’ responses to fire risk, beliefs about personal and agency responsibility for addressing risk, personal experiences with fire, and stressors associated with living in a fire-prone area. These issues are examined in light of values perceived as being shared with the Forest Service and other community residents, as well as trust. A series of studies of natural resource management issues surrounding risk to habitat, nonhuman species, and humans has informed our understanding of the role of perceived similar salient values and trust. Trust continues to be highlighted as an essential element of fire management and communication, and risk management and communication in general. However, the functions of salient values similarity and trust have not been explored in the context of the experience of residing in a community in a fire-prone area. The authors arranged for residents of fire-prone communities surrounding an urban national forest to participate in focus-group discussions and complete self-administered surveys. It was found that most study participants had multiple fire-related experiences, and that many regarded the risk of fire as part of living in the mountains. Although participants considered the Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry to be primarily responsible for reduction of fire risk, they also rated personal and community responsibility highly. When participants saw their own values and those of the Forest Service as similar with respect to fire management, they seemed to consider the consistency of agency actions with those values an important basis for making judgments to trust the agency. Public meetings with the Forest Service were supported, although some participants stipulated that the meetings needed to involve dialogue. Other means of communication were also supported. Implications for communication and collaboration, education, and management actions are discussed in light of the role of salient values similarity and trust in a risk environment.
Keywords: beliefs, fire-prone communities, risk communication, risk management, salient values, San Bernardino National Forest, stresses.
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Winter, Patricia L.; Cvetkovich, George T. 2010. Shared values and trust: The experience of community residents in a fire-prone ecosystem. In: Pye, John M.; Rauscher, H. Michael; Sands, Yasmeen; Lee, Danny C.; Beatty, Jerome S., tech. eds. 2010. Advances in threat assessment and their application to forest and rangeland management. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-802. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations. pp. 409-418
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