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Who Gives a Hoot? Determining the Value of Owl Habitat

This article is from Issue Wildland Fire - Vol. 4 No. 1.

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The northern spotted owl is an endangered species that needs old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest to live. Unfortunately, old-growth forests, like all forests, may catch fire and be damaged or destroyed. There are many things forest managers can do to reduce the risk of a large forest fire. The scientists in this study wanted to know whether people like you and your family and friends value the endangered owl’s habitat enough to support spending more of our tax money on prescribed fires.

Welcome to the Wildland Fire edition

Note to Educators

The Story of Smokey Bear

Education Standards Correlations


Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

"Science Topics" covered in this article:
  • Earth Science
  • Life Science
  • People and Science
  • Technology and Science

"Environmental Topics" covered in this article:
  • Forest and Grassland Use (Educators)
  • Growing and Using Trees and Other Plants (Students)
  • Importance of Forest to People (Students)
  • The Value of Forests and Grasslands (Educators)
  • Vegetation Management (Educators)
  • Vegetation Protection (Fire, Insects, Endangered Species) (Educators)

Regions covered in this article:
  • Alaska
  • Intermountain
  • Northern
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Pacific Southwest
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Southern
  • Southwestern

"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
When people think about science, they usually think about topics like biology, chemistry, and astronomy. These topics are grouped into a category of science that deals with physical aspects of all life. There is another category of science that includes topics that deal with human behavior, such as psychology, sociology, or history. You study these kind of topics in Social Studies class. Scientists call these kind of topics social sciences. In this study, the scientists investigated the economic behavior of people. Economics is a social science built on the idea that people spend money on things that are important to them. The scientists asked people if they would be willing to spend money on environmental conservation. By doing this study, the scientists gained a better understanding of how important the environment is to different people.
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • Scientific Topics

"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
Have you ever seen Mt. McKinley in Alaska? Have you ever seen Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming? How about the Amazon River in Brazil or the Sahara Desert in Africa? You might not have ever seen any of these natural places, but you still might think they are valuable. You might think they are valuable because you would like to visit them one day. Or maybe you think they are valuable because they provide homes for wildlife. You might not think they are valuable at all. Natural areas have a lot of different kinds of value to humans. Some people might think that forests are valuable because they provide wood for building homes, or because they provide homes for birds and mammals. As you can see, people might think the environment is valuable for a lot of reasons.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Value of natural environments

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Diversity and adaptations of organisms (C)
  • Nature of science (G)
  • Populations and ecosystems (C)
  • Populations, resources and environments (F)
  • Risks and benefits (F)
  • Science and technology in society (F)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Structure and function in living systems (C)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)

Science Benchmarks covered in this article:
  • Habits of Mind: Communication Skils
  • Habits of Mind: Computation and Estimation
  • Habits of Mind: Critical-Response Skills
  • Historic Perspectives: Understanding Fire
  • Human Society: Social Trade-Offs
  • The Living Environment: Interdependence of Life
  • The Nature of Science: Scientific Inquiry
  • The Nature of Science: The Scientific Enterprise
  • The Physical Setting: The Earth
  • The Physical Setting: The Structure of Matter