Communicating Effectively about Young Forest Management to Benefit Associated Wildlife Species

  • Phil T. Seng DJ Case & Associates
  • David J. Case DJ Case & Associates

Abstract

To conserve declining populations of American woodcock (Scolopax minor; hereafter woodcock) and other young forest-associated species, the Wildlife Management Institute contracted with DJ Case & Associates to assess existing communication efforts and investigate strategies that would help achieve the difficult objective of encouraging private landowners to implement young forest management practices on their lands. Our efforts included a literature review, interviews of 30 natural resources professionals, 7 focus groups with private landowners, and a metadata analysis of National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) data. Based on this research, we identified 5 target audiences (private, non-industrial woodland owners, conservation professionals with direct landowner contact, other conservation professionals, residents of forested communities, and hunters, especially woodcock and ruffed grouse [Bonasa umbellus] hunters), with objectives for each. We also identified broad strategies for achieving these objectives with each target audience and developed messages based on what these audiences indicated was important to them. Finally, we recommended 3 big-picture actions for the woodcock conservation community to implement the specific communications strategies: 1) design and develop a comprehensive website that provides the information and resources needed by each of the target audiences, 2) create detailed pilot communications campaigns in selected five-county pilot areas, and 3) develop large-scale partnerships among other organizations and entities interested in young forest management. The Wildlife Management Institute and others in the conservation community have embraced and implemented these communication strategies and messages as part of a larger woodcock conservation effort in the Northeast and Upper Midwest USA. Partners have employed many of these messages and strategies in an even broader effort to promote and encourage young forest management throughout the country.

Published
2019-12-02
Section
Communication Strategies