Visitor acceptance of and confidence in emerald ash borer management approaches.
Invasive species are an increasingly important forest management issue on state, national, and international levels. As the invasive emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) (EAB) threatens to decimate ash (Fraxinus spp.) tree populations across North America, understanding visitor perceptions of EAB management is pivotal to maintain support for management as well as visitor experience quality. EAB management is particularly important in Minnesota, on the northwestern edge of the EAB invasion. An onsite survey of 355 respondents in a Minnesota state park revealed that visitors believed EAB should be managed on public recreational lands and the most acceptable EAB management approaches were wood regulations, sanitation cutting, and progressive thinning. Management approach acceptability significantly differed between use areas and natural areas for seven of eight EAB management approaches assessed. Although visitors were not particularly confident in any approach's ability to slow EAB, confidence in EAB management approaches was positively correlated with acceptance. Natural resource managers can use these results to prioritize EAB management strategies holistically, based on the expanding foundation of environmental and economic research as well as social preferences.