Date of Award

Winter 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Theodore E Howard


Rapid land ownership changes in the Northern Forest have spurred development as well as conservation. Local people have experienced differing degrees of participation in land use decisions. I compared two conservation projects from Maine to assess the policy processes, and local attitudes about the conservation project and land use. One was a top-down approach, the second a grassroots, private effort by local citizens to conserve forest land. I gathered my data via in person interviews, mail surveys, and analysis of legislative testimony.

My findings indicate that early local involvement leads to less conflict and greater acceptance of the project. Important aspects of effective public involvement include shared learning and two-way dialogue. People generally want to maintain the working forest and the tradition of open public access. However, people also value forests as an economic opportunity for ecotourism. Most study participants favor mixed or multiple use management of forest lands.