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Abstract

This paper examines public preferences for natural resource lands by exploring over a decade of ballot initiatives related to land management in Maine. Results of each ballot initiative are scrutinized to examine factors that significantly influenced voting outcomes and to compare and contrast outcomes over time, space, and type of proposed land management. Referenda in the sample include broad land conservation measures, calls for changes in forest management practices, and modifications to property tax and assessment of "working" natural resource lands. Results confirm strong spatial patterns in voting behavior in Maine, with higher support for land conservation measures in southern and coastal areas relative to eastern and northern areas. These spatial patterns may reflect variation in the benefits provided and costs imposed by the various land management initiatives. Empirical analysis suggests proximity or access to public goods provided by an initiative increases the likelihood of support. In contrast, proximity to perceived costs decreases the likelihood of support for an initiative.

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