What you do is important. Your values, goals, objectives – the things you stand for and the actions you take.

Here at the PFLA blog we stand for responsible stewardship of B.C.’s private forestlands – our actions as forest stewards support government policies that balance environment, community and commerce.

Like the PFLA, the Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) represents private forest landowners (only they do it in Washington state).

In 1990, the WFPA initiated a major public opinion survey. At the time, the general belief was that private forest landowners were careless with their timber harvests, and causing harm to forests, streams and wildlife. Not true in practice, pollsters believed the public’s negative reaction resulted, in large part, because forest owners weren’t communicating their story.

More than ten years later, public perception has changed. The WFPA spent time and resources letting people know who they are and what they do, and it turns out, Washington voters “like” private forest landowners.

In fact, a 2011 public opinion poll showed:

  • 70% believe private forest landowners protect wildlife habitat on their forestland “very” or “fairly” well.
  • 66% think private forest landowners protect fish habitat in streams “very” or “fairly” well
  • 64% think water quality in streams on private forestland was “very” or “fairly” well protected
  • Finally, there’s widespread agreement throughout the state among all voter subgroups that habitat and water quality on private forestland was “very” or “fairly” well protected.

Who the WFPA is, and what they do, didn’t change – they just did a better job of letting people know about it.

That’s why PFLA spends time, effort and resources letting the public know who we are, what we stand for and how we do what we do. Intuitively, we knew this was a good idea, but a little evidence never hurt anyone.