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Sagebrush Steppe Restoration from a Social Science Perspective
Mark Brunson, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Most of the West’s sagebrush steppe ecosystems lie on public lands, where citizens have a right and ability to influence the course of land management activities. Therefore it is important to understand how citizens view restoration activities, as a general approach to management and also with respect to specific practices such as prescribed fire, grazing, mechanical treatments or herbicide application. I will review results of recent studies by myself and colleagues on this topic that explored attitudes and beliefs of the general public and members of important stakeholder groups. Our findings suggest that citizens are somewhat aware of problems facing the sagebrush biome although they may not realize the degree of threat, and they have a generally positive outlook toward restoration. However, they are wary of some treatment approaches more than others, and they are skeptical about the ability of federal agencies to successfully implement restoration treatments.