Building a Constituency of Forest Productivity Advocates

Lead Author: Kathryn Fernholz

Publish date: 03.26.2009


What do we know about Minnesotan’s Natural Resource Priorities?


In November 2008, in the midst of some of the worst economic news in a generation and after nearly ten years of lobbying and education efforts, Minnesotans approved a sales tax increase to support the environment. The revenues from the additional three-eighths of 1 percent are to be used to preserve Minnesota’snatural resources and support the arts.


While many seemed surprised to see the constitutional amendment approved given the many challenges it faced, those engaged in polling Minnesotans about their natural resource priorities were less surprised by the results – because the survey data fully predicted it.


From generations of polling and public survey research, abundant information is available about what Minnesotans, Americans and specific segments of the population think when it comes to environmental issues. This information provides an insight into what policy changes and actions people are likely to support and
where opportunities for engagement and creation of a “forestry constituency” may exist.


This report is part of the Seeing the Forest AND the Trees project of the Blandin Foundation’s Vital Forests/Vital Communities initiative. To support the project goals of improving the productivity of Minnesota’s forests, this report shares what we know, and don’t know, about the natural resource priorities of Minnesotan’s and explores how knowledge from public opinion surveys can inform the creation and strengthening of a voice for Minnesota’s healthy and productive forests.


Update: In January 2010, the results of a Minnesota forestry poll were released, providing new information about Minnesotans' environmental priorities.  For more information, see the following link: Survey Shows Minnesotans Value Well Managed Forests