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Arbor Day Poll: Voters Strongly Value Nation’s Forests for Environmental, Economic Benefits

National Association of State Foresters poll shows broad support for protecting and maintaining America's forests

Washington, DC- In a poll commissioned by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and released today in support of Arbor Day, voters across the country were found to strongly value forests as sources of clear air and water as well as providers of good-paying jobs and essential products.

The poll, conducted by the bi-partisan team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R), also found that 74 percent of voters support maintaining or expanding efforts to protect forests and trees in their states.

"It's encouraging to know that the voting public understands the immense value provided by our forest land," said Jay Farrell, NASF executive director. "America's forests are a renewable resource that provide both environmental and economic benefits - and that makes them truly unique. On Arbor Day, it's worth remembering the important role of our forests."

A memo summarizing the poll's finding can be found here:
http://www.stateforesters.org/voter-attitudes-poll

Some highlights include:

APPRECIATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
92 percent of voters surveyed believe that helping keep the air clean is a "very" important benefit of forests, including 58 percent who believe it is "extremely" important. A nearly identical 91% of voters assign similar importance to forests' role in filtering water to keep it clean.

VALUING ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Perhaps as a result of the economic downturn, voters in the survey value forests for the very real economic benefits they provide, including good-paying jobs and essential products like paper and lumber. In a 2007 survey, only 47 percent of voters considered this to be an "extremely" or "very" important benefit of forests compared to 73 percent this year's survey.

CONCERN OVER THREATS
Survey respondents recognize that America's forests face a variety of threats including wildfires, insects, and disease. Specifically, 73 percent of all voters consider wildfires to be a "major" threat to forests. Three in five voters believe the same about insects and diseases that harm trees (62%) and development (62%).

FAVOR CONTINUED SUPPORT
74 percent of voters surveyed say they support providing resources for ongoing forest management and protection, including 41 percent who say they'd like to see it increased.

The National Association of State Foresters is comprised of the directors of state and territorial forestry agencies and the District of Columbia. NASF seeks to advance sustainable forestry, conservation, and protection of forest lands and their associated resources. http://www.stateforesters.org

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