Specificity and the Cognitive Hierarchy: Value Orientations and the Acceptability of Urban Wildlife Management Actions

Society and Natural Resources (Impact Factor: 1.09). 06/2006; 19(6):515-530. DOI: 10.1080/08941920600663912

ABSTRACT This article tests theory suggesting cognitions at the same level of specificity have stronger associations than those at different levels. Using data from a survey of Anchorage, AK, residents (n = 971, response rate = 59%), we explored relationships between general wildlife value orientations and (1) the general acceptability of hunting urban wildlife populations, and (2) specific wildlife management actions (e.g., the acceptability of destroying a bear or moose after specific conflict situations). Consistent with previous research, patterns of basic wildlife beliefs aligned along two distinct value orientations (protection–use and wildlife appreciation) that differentially predicted management action acceptability. As hypothesized, general wildlife value orientations had more influence on the acceptability of hunting to reduce wildlife populations than destroying an animal involved in specific conflict situations. Findings suggested ways to improve measurement, ways to develop broader models that include values-related variables, and the importance of values-level information when addressing urban wildlife conflicts.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: [1] Water resource managers increasingly need to take the opinions of stakeholders into account when planning interventions. We studied stakeholders' concerns in two water management planning contexts, focusing on the meanings assigned to places and on attitudes toward proposed interventions. Semistructured interviews were held, and public meetings were observed in order to collect data. Five categories of place meanings emerged from the analysis: beauty (esthetic judgments), functionality (ways of use), attachment (feelings of belonging), biodiversity (meanings pertaining to nature), and risk (worries about current or future events). These categories reflect the basic dimensions of sense of place. Our results suggest that stakeholders' attitudes toward proposed interventions are, to a great extent, derived from their place meanings. Discussing place meanings during participatory planning processes could contribute substantially to successful water management.
    Water Resources Research. 01/2011; 47(1).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Understanding perceptual and situational factors underlying nuisance complaints can help managers maintain carnivore populations while mitigating conflicts with people. Our study uses data from a mail survey (n = 467 complainants about nuisance alligators, and n = 669 random Florida residents) and a three-step binary logistic regression analysis to examine how general attitudes, specific beliefs, and situational factors influence the behavior of reporting nuisance alligators. Residence adjacent to fresh water, the presence of outdoor pets, higher risk belief scores, higher nuisance belief scores, higher education, and older age were all related to complaining about an alligator, whereas general attitude toward alligators was not. Results are consistent with the “specificity principle” for attitude–behavior correspondence and emphasize the importance of situational factors as behavioral determinants. Targeted harvest areas can help to manage complaints in marginal habitats where risk from alligators is persistent. Information about protective behaviors and benefits of alligators can motivate residents to avoid dangerous encounters.
    Human Dimensions of Wildlife 11/2014; 19(6).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In a representative national survey of the adult population of Norway, public preferences for different management practices were influenced by a large number of different variables. Results are largely consistent with known influences on public acceptance of the large carnivores. Management preferences are subject to a number of different influences. The interpretation of this complexity may be facilitated by viewing the variables as interrelated parts of a coherent system. The present analysis supports a multidimensional model, involving the predictors: 1. Two main perspectives on the carnivores (threat and non-threat), 2. two groups of species (minor and major carnivores), 3. respondents’ degree of carnivore acceptance in five situations, and 4. a set of respondent characteristics. Carnivores posing a threat and “Major carnivores” (wolf and bear) are associated with preferences for more severe management than others. Respondents’ acceptance of carnivores also is a major predictor. In addition, a number of respondent characteristics are significantly related to the management preferences. Part of this influence may be indirect, mediated through carnivore acceptance. The complexity of the multidimensional model implies that simpler perspectives may limit our comprehension in this field of research. In popular debate on large carnivores, some participants argue simply for or against maintaining carnivore populations. The present results suggest that the general population hold more complex views, possibly more consistent with a policy of both accepting the carnivore populations and taking severe management measures when animals prove threatening.
    Research Report of Lillehammer University College (HiL). 05/2014;


Available from
Jul 14, 2014