Landowner perception, awareness, and adoption of wildfire programs in the Southern United States



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Non-industrial Private Forests (NIPF) landowners constitute a major component of the forested land portfolio in the Southeastern United States. The lands they possess provide a variety of social benefits but many aspects of how these landowners manage their properties exist. The goal of this research was to determine overall landowner awareness regarding wildfire programs and education and identify interrelationships among management strategies, demographic variables, and experiences. Specifically, it was hypothesized that landowner program awareness, interest in biomass utilization, and wildfire mitigation strategies would be influenced by the type of information they received, management activities, and other factors. Seven logit models were constructed to analyze these interrelationships. Results revealed that the type and quality of information landowners received was important in most cases. Landowners not receiving any information were less likely to take action to prevent or mitigate wildfire damage to their property. Wildfire education was highly valued by participants. Knowledge of existing biomass utilization programs was almost non-existent. However, the desire to obtain information on this topic was high. In general, state agencies were utilized more than federal agencies, and landowners felt that cost-share programs and marketability of removed biomass would encourage participation in wildfire prevention activities.