UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving forest landscape management in British Columbia : an attitude survey of professional foresters Roberge, Luc R.


Professional foresters, with their forestry programs and policies, have the complex task of managing the physical and visual forest environment in accordance with societal values, needs, and expectations. Since the introduction of a Ministry program on forest landscape management in British Columbia, very few attempts have been made to assess its impact on lay public and foresters. This study contributes to gaining a better understanding of professionals' opinions and attitudes towards forest landscape management by surveying foresters on a variety of issues. Two major objectives are to provide guidance for further improvements based on foresters' insights and to propose research needs in landscape management. The survey involved the design of a mail questionnaire in which eight hypotheses were tested. A sample of 300 professional foresters registered in British Columbia was randomly selected and contacted in the summer of 1986. After three months and two follow-up letters, 90 percent of them had returned a completed questionnaire. The excellent response rate, overall and in each forest region, shows that foresters are concerned about forest landscape management. However, a very large majority admitted they had a relatively low level of knowledge of landscape management concepts, program, and policy. This was partly explained by the lack of information (including training programs and courses on landscape management) pertinent to British Columbia. In addition, the professional forestry school and the Ministry of Forests and Lands have not been very successful in promoting forest landscape management among the members of the profession. Considering that half of the foresters felt that it is highly important to have more training programs through continuing education, more university and technical courses, more field workshops, and more trained personnel for the purpose of improving landscape management, it is suggested that forestry schools and the Ministry provide more opportunities for professional education on the subject. Not only is there a need for professional education in forest landscape management topics, but the study suggests that the public should be educated as well: nearly every forester felt that the general public has a poor understanding of forest management issues. The perceived lack of public understanding explains to a certain extent why close to half of the foresters felt that it is not very important to have more public participation in the planning process, despite the fact that about the same proportion indicated that the present level of public input into forest management decisions is not very satisfactory. Finally, the study indicates a need for more professional involvement in forestry program development and improvement. For example, a large majority of foresters, including nearly half of the industry foresters, felt that not enough consideration is given to landscape management in forest harvesting decisions. A large majority, including a majority of those employed in the forest industry, felt that it is very important that the industry be more involved with forest landscape management. It appears, however, that more incentives are necessary to expect a reasonable level of involvement. Responses and comments suggest that most foresters in British Columbia support forest landscape management. However, this widespread support is tempered with concerns about the potential and real impacts of landscape management on various forestry and social aspects. In summary, the overall findings point to a need for evaluating these impacts in economic, social, ecological, and technical terms and at both, the provincial and regional scale.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.