Landowners' Responses to an Endangered Species Act Listing and Implications for Encouraging Conservation

Conservation Biology (Impact Factor: 4.36). 01/2003; 17(6):1638-1649. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2003.00258.x

ABSTRACT Private landowners manage many rare species' habitats, yet research on their responses to species conservation legislation is scarce. To address this need, we examined private landowners' responses to the listing of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). We mailed a questionnaire designed to measure these responses to a sample of landowners. The adjusted response rate was 46% (n =379). The questionnaire asked landowners whether they had managed their land to improve the Preble's habitat and to minimize the chance of the Preble's living on it. We also asked whether landowners had or would allow a survey for the Preble's on their property. We hypothesized that landowners would respond to these questions based on their aesthetic preferences, economic concerns, information sources, parcel size, personal values, recreation activities, residence status, social influences, and other factors. Listing the Preble's under the ESA does not appear to have enhanced its survival prospects on private land. In terms of hectares owned, for example, the efforts of landowners who reported they had sought to help the Preble's (25%) were canceled out by the efforts of those who sought to harm it (26%). Moreover, the majority of respondents had not or would not allow a biological survey (56%), thus preventing the collection of data for conserving the species. All eight hypothesized determinants significantly predicted responses to the listing when they were considered individually. When considered simultaneously, however, only one economic consideration (dependence on agriculture), recreation activity (consumptive), and social factor (distrusting government), and select information sources (conservation and social), and personal values (valuing nature, valuing local control, and denying landowner responsibility) remained direct determinants. To promote the conservation of rare species by private landowners, we recommend communicating information through social networks, alleviating landowners' economic concerns, increasing use of collaborative processes, and institutionalizing assurances that landowners will not be harmed by managing their land to help rare species.

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    ABSTRACT: The Endangered Species Act of 1973 has served as the defacto biodiversity policy in the United States; however, heavy-handed implementation early in the act's history led private landowners to avoid managing land to benefit endangered species. By reducing costs and increasing benefits to landowners, voluntary incentive programs (VIPs) potentially bridge the gap between a policy that discourages beneficial land management on private lands and the need to enhance recovery efforts. However, the effectiveness of VIPs is bound to landowner participation. With the use of a sample of rangeland landowners in central Texas, we examined the potential for private landowners to enroll in an incentive program to protect and maintain habitat for endangered songbirds. First, we characterized landowners based on the centrality of production-oriented agriculture to their lifestyle. This measure of lifestyle centrality was comprised of self-identification as a rancher/farmer, dependence on land for income, and rootedness to the land. Second, we examined the relationship between lifestyle centrality, attitude, and participation in a VIP. With the use of structural-equation modeling, we found attitude toward enrolling mediated the relationship between centrality and a landowner's intention to enroll in a VIP. In addition to demographic analyses, social variables such as attitudes, beliefs, and motivations are needed to understand fully the multiple underlying reasons for participation and nonparticipation in a VIP and to design effective interventions to enhance participation. Resumen La ley de especies en peligro de extinción de 1973 ha servido como la política en práctica de la biodiversidad en los Estados Unidos; sin embargo, la aplicación al inicio de la ley llevó a productores privados a evitar que el manejo de la tierra beneficiara a las especies en peligro de extinción. Reduciendo los costos y aumentando los beneficios para los propietarios de las tierras el programa de incentivo voluntario (VIPs) posiblemente abre una posibilidad entre una política que desalienta los beneficios del manejo de la tierra en la propiedad privada y la necesidad de intensificar los esfuerzos de recuperación. Sin embargo, la efectividad de los VIPs está vinculada con la participación de los propietarios. Utilizando una muestra de los propietarios de pastizales en la parte central de Texas se examinó la posibilidad de que los propietarios privados se inscribieran en un programa de incentivos para proteger y mantener el hábitat para aves canoras en peligro de extinción. Primero, se caracterizó a los productores basándose en la centralidad de la agricultura orientada a la producción y a su estilo de vida. Esta medida de centralidad del estilo de vida se basó en auto identificación como ganadero y/o agricultor, la dependencia de la tierra para sus ingresos así como el arraigo a la tierra. Segundo, se examinó la relación entre la centralidad del estilo de vida, la actitud y la participación en un VIP. Por medio del modelado de ecuaciones estructurales, nos enfocamos en actitud para registrarse por la relación entre la centralidad y la intención del propietario de inscribirse en un VIP. Además de los análisis demográficos, las variables sociales como las actitudes, creencias y motivaciones se necesitan para entender las razones múltiples detrás de la participación y no participación en un VIP y permiten diseñ ar intervenciones eficaces para mejorar la participación.
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    Wildlife Society Bulletin 01/2012; 36(3):469-476. · 0.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wildlife tourism is a growing phenomenon, particularly in emerging economies such as India. Purported benefits of this growth in tourism include greater tourist interest in, and support for, conservation. We examined the interest, awareness and potential for this support in three prominent Indian national parks, Nagarahole, Kanha and Ranthambore. Park records indicate that most tourists (71%) are Indian nationals. Our surveys of 436 Indian tourists indicate that many were on their first visit to the park (71%) and are well educated (82% with bachelor and master degrees). Most tourists (88%) visited for <1 week and spent <USD 600 on their visit. The main reasons for visiting parks were opportunities to see nature, tigers Panthera tigris and scenic beauty. Seventy-one percent of tourists indicated they are likely or somewhat likely to return to the parks but only 34% would be willing to visit the parks if tigers are absent. Forty-two percent indicated willingness to pay higher gate fees. Surprisingly, those spending less on their trip were more willing to pay higher fees than those spending more. Sixty-five percent believed that local people benefit from the park, whereas in reality local benefits are few. Our results indicate the potential for the growth of domestic wildlife tourism and support for conservation among tourists but highlight the need for increasing education and awareness on the difficult realities of conservation in India.
    Oryx 07/2012; 46(03). · 1.62 Impact Factor


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