Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Straka, Thomas J.

Committee Member

Straka, Thomas J.

Committee Member

Cushing, Tamara L.

Committee Member

Norman, William C.

Abstract

Focus group interviews in a field-based setting were used to obtain qualitative data on the perceptions held by family forest owners relating to invasive species control methods. Focus groups, while common in forestry and natural resource research, are not usually facilitated in the field. The interviews took place on sites prepared in demonstration fashion to show various herbicide application methods for the control of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense). The focus group data pointed to many themes, underlying concerns, and motivations that steer landowner decision making. Among the results were themes stressing landowner worries about post-treatment reestablishment of privet infestations and the need for selective chemicals or methods to avoid harming non-target species. Also, concerns surfaced about the cost effectiveness of treatments in light of low timber value, the possible need for guarantees from herbicide applicators, and availability of cost-share assistance. Environmental concerns centered on the ecological effects of invasive species as well as the possible adverse effects of the chemicals used to treat them. Finally, an unexpected result was the perception among participating landowners that field focus groups are a strong demonstration tool.

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