Public Perspectives of Fire Management
A key problem in developing a better understanding of different responses to landscape level management actions, such as fuel treatments, is being able to confidently record and accurately spatially delineate the meanings stakeholders ascribe to the landscape. To more accurately understand these relationships with the Bitterroot National Forest, Montana, U.S.A., local residents were asked to identify specific places, why they valued them, and how fuel treatments affected these values. Resulting maps displayed variation in the spatial scale and differences in terms used to describe attachments to places they have visited and those they have not. This paper and pencil exercise failed to adequately capture intensity of meanings. To address this issue, a computer-based mapping exercise was used with residents on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana, U.S.A., to capture the intensity and spatial distribution of meanings associated with proposed fuel reduction projects on this landscape. This paper will present two different mapping approaches and discuss challenges in mapping meanings.