Date on Senior Honors Thesis

5-2022

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name

B.S.

Department

Geography and Geosciences

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Forest management; landuse functions; Berea; Prescribed Burning

Abstract

The Berea College Forest is the oldest privately managed forest in Kentucky. Spanning over 9,000 acres, the forest provides opportunities for hiking, timber production, carbon sequestration, education, and much more. The Berea College Forest is uniquely situated as it is mere miles from the town center of Berea and Berea College. This proximity to a concentrated population causes the management of the forest to be observed and experienced by the community members, where accessibility to trails, hosted events, and educational experiences extend the land functions of the managed forest to community members in more direct ways than other publicly managed forests more focused on timber products or ecosystem services alone. The Berea College Forest started using prescribed burns as a forest management technique in 2018. This study aims to survey community members on their opinion of prescribed burning as a forest management technique in the Berea College Forest and assess how land functions prioritized by forest managers may overlap with those of neighboring landowners and the larger Berea community. The results of this study will assist the Berea College Forest managers to better understand the community’s perceptions and bridge gaps between the forest managers and the broader public.

Lay Summary

The Berea College Forest is the oldest privately managed forest in Kentucky. Spanning over 9,000 acres, the forest provides opportunities for hiking, timber production, carbon sequestration, education, and much more. The Berea College Forest is uniquely situated as it is mere miles from the town center of Berea and Berea College. This proximity to a concentrated population causes the management of the forest to be observed and experienced by the community members, where accessibility to trails, hosted events, and educational experiences extend the land functions of the managed forest to community members in more direct ways than other publicly managed forests more focused on timber products or ecosystem services alone. The Berea College Forest started using prescribed burns as a forest management technique in 2018. This study aims to survey community members on their opinion of prescribed burning as a forest management technique in the Berea College Forest and assess how land functions prioritized by forest managers may overlap with those of neighboring landowners and the larger Berea community. The results of this study will assist the Berea College Forest managers to better understand the community’s perceptions and bridge gaps between the forest managers and the broader public.

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