Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) is rapidly encroaching on grasslands in the southern Great Plains. This has several adverse effects on the landscape including increased wildfire risk, decreased water runoff, and reduced forage available for cattle production. Several best management practices have been identified to reduce the spread of eastern redcedar, including the use of prescribed fire. However, numerous barriers exist against the use of prescribed fire such as societal acceptance or liability concerns. The purpose of this study was to determine how stakeholders from government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and landowners perceive the use of prescribed fire to control eastern redcedar encroachment. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats–analytical hierarchical process method was used for data analysis. The study showed that governmental and landowner stakeholders viewed that the negatives associated with prescribed fire outweigh the potential benefits. Nongovernmental organization stakeholders had differing opinions, and they were largely supportive of using prescribed fire. The results suggest that there is a need for tailored outreach to alleviate the concerns associated with risks and liabilities, as escaped prescribed fires are highly uncommon.
Best Management Practices