A nationwide survey commissioned by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) was recently completed to assess key public perceptions and values related to forests. The new results reveal a striking consensus among Americans:
- Voters strongly value the nation’s forests, especially as sources of clean air and water.
- Voters have an increased appreciation for the economic benefits provided by forests- such as good-paying jobs and essential products – than they were in previous years.
- Voters also recognize a variety of serious threats facing America’s forests, like wildfires and harmful insects and diseases.
Given these factors, seven out of ten voters support maintaining or increasing efforts to protect forests and trees in their state.Among the key specific findings of the poll are the following:
- Voters continue to value the nation’s forests highly, particularly as sources of clean air and water and places for wildlife to live. The survey found most voters are personally familiar with the nation’s forests: two-thirds of voters (67%) say they live within ten miles of a forest or wooded area. Voters also report engaging in various recreational activities that may bring them to forests. These include: viewing wildlife (71% of voters say they do this “frequently” or “occasionally”), hiking on outdoor trails (48%), fishing (43%), overnight camping (38%), hunting (22%), using off-road vehicles (16%), snow-shoeing or cross-country-skiing (15%), and mountain biking (14%).