Perceptions of the general public on forest sector responsibility: A survey related to ecosystem services and forest sector business impacts in four European countries

Lea Ranacher, Katja Lähtinen, Erno Järvinen, Anne Maarit Kristiina Toppinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates public perceptions related to forest ecosystem services (ES), which have been identified as one of the key topics in forest sector communication. ES represents a prime example of an issue that merits more in-depth analysis. In this study, we (I) evaluate the views of the general public on the importance of forests contributing to different ES; (II) determine the public's need for information on the impact of forest sector businesses on ecosystems; and (Ill) assess how responsibly the public believes that forest sector companies act in relation to their impacts on ecosystems. A structured questionnaire using a 5-point Likert-scale was made available as an online survey targeting respondents from four European countries (Austria, Germany, Finland and Slovenia) in each national language and English. Between May and September 2015, 219 responses were received and analyzed using descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, t-test, and ANOVA. Respondents showed high levels of agreement for items accounting for regulating and supporting ES. Information needs on forest sector business impacts were found to be high, whereas there was much greater division about the level of perceived forest sector responsibility. Regarding the public perception of forest ES, three dimensions were identified: "primary ES", "consumable ES", and "social cohesion related ES". Some relationships between the respondents' socio-demographic characteristics and the three dimensions of ES were uncovered: for example, "Consumable ES" are more important for female respondents and those who do not derive income from the forest sector. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Volume78
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
ISSN1389-9341
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry
  • SOCIAL LICENSE
  • SUSTAINABILITY
  • BIODIVERSITY
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • POLICY
  • BIOECONOMY
  • INDUSTRIES
  • MANAGEMENT
  • OPERATE
  • EUROPE
  • FINLAND
  • AUSTRIA
  • GERMANY
  • SLOVENIA

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