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Website delivers actionable social science to foresters

A new website developed by researchers from the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW-Extension teaches foresters how to more effectively work with landowners making management decisions about their lands.

Aimed at foresters who work with woodland owners on a daily basis, provides a combination of blog posts, scientific studies and training materials.

“The content is meant to give foresters the tools they need to effectively communicate best management practices to their clients and work together to use those practices to everyone’s benefit,” says Bret Shaw, UW–Madison associate professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication and environmental communication specialist for UW-Extension.

Visitors to the website can learn from modules that will help them communicate about a range of topics such as managing for oak trees and urban forestry issues.

“Research on encouraging people to adopt a new behavior tells us that sharing knowledge and information alone is usually not enough,” said Tricia Gorby, UW-Extension’s Cooperative Extension Natural Resources Director. “We hope that with these communication and marketing insights, we can help foresters and other natural resource professionals interact successfully with woodland owners.”

Support and funding for the website came from the Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund administered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Additional collaborators and contributing authors include Katy Thostenson from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Alanna Koshollek with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. will be updated with new content as more training materials become available. Future content will focus on engagement of women woodland owners and best practices for foresters delivering interpersonal advice to their clients.

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