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  • ItemOpen Access
    An integrated landscape conservation approach for the agrolandscapes of southern Brazil: the case of Campos Gerais, Paraná
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Rocha, Carlos Hugo, author; Wallace, George, advisor
    This study utilizes mixed methods to develop a strategy for conserving a network of natural and restored parcels of varying sizes in an intensively managed yet biologically diverse agricultural region of Southern Brazil. As these lands are essentially privately owned, a dialogic-dialectical conservation approach based on understanding landowner perspectives, assigned meanings, and collectively constructed knowledge, was used along with spatial information to develop a landscape-based conservation praxis. Spatial information was used to develop a broad understanding of the Campos Gerais ecoregion, the biophysical and human context on which conservation planning and management should be developed, and to select and prioritize remnant habitat patches and connecting lands. Brazil's legal framework was then analyzed in order to identify current and potential incentives for private land conservation. A purposive sample of farms and ranches were selected and using farm-level spatial information, these landowners were interviewed in depth, using a mutual learning approach in order to establish their predisposition to conserve and which conservation incentives are seen by them as most appropriate. Using this information it was possible to predict the "conservation likelihood", preferred conservation techniques and whether the techniques could be agreed upon or would have to be negotiated for different types of landowners. Conservation likelihood can then be expressed spatially allowing us to model or anticipate the effects of conservation-or the changes that might otherwise occur. These models can in turn, be used dialectically with landowners to implement a landscape level conservation strategy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Quantifying and modeling visitor use in Yosemite National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Pettebone, David, author; Newman, Peter, advisor
    Three manuscripts are presented in this dissertation. The first entitled "Estimating Visitor Use at Attraction Sites and Trailheads Using Automated Visitor Counters in Yosemite National Park" is a methodological paper that examines the use of automated visitor counters, a commonly used device to estimate visitor use in parks and protected areas. This study was conducted in Yosemite National Park in the summer of 2007 and used automated visitor counters to estimate visitor use at several locations in Yosemite Valley. One hundred thirty five hours of direct observations were conducted among six study sites to estimate monitor counting errors. Methods to treat missing monitor data and methods to estimate accurate visitor use counts from automated monitors are discussed. Results show a very strong relationship between observed visitor counts and automated monitor counts (R2 > 0.95) and visitor use estimates are presented for all study sites. This study shows that automated visitor use monitors produce consistent data from which reliable estimates of visitor use can be calculated.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Crystallizing change in a tourism-based economy during COVID-19: an intermountain western gateway case study of Nederland, Colorado
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Branstrator, Julia, author; Cavaliere, Christina T., advisor; Bruyere, Brett, committee member; Cottrell, Stuart, committee member; Snodgrass, Jeffrey, committee member
    The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped mobility patterns within the tourism system uniquely stressing parks and protected areas (PPAs) and respective bordering gateway communities. Tourism research has explored changes related to PPAs since COVID-19 at the international (Spenceley et al., 2021), national (Lebrun, et al., 2021), and regional and local scales (Cavaliere & Branstrator 2023; Sohn et al., 2021). Recent scholarship in tourism has brought attention to the experiences and knowledge of residents living within communities bordering PPAs to understand the impacts of COVID-19 from local perspectives (Jones et al., 2021). However, tourism scholarship related to COVID-19 underrepresents the experiences of intermountain western gateway communities (IWGCs) - small communities within remote mountain regions bordering PPAs that often live with tourism-based economies (Stoker et al., 2021). Throughout COVID-19, IWGCs have lived through societal, political and health crises compounded by climate disasters such as wildfires and flooding. The remote geographic location and economic basis of tourism shapes the impacts, adaptations and needs of IWGCs, imperative to inform crisis and disaster management due to the presence and power of tourism-based economies. Residents from the Town of Nederland, Colorado hold lived, situated knowledge of changes experienced during COVID-19 which can further tourism scholarship of resiliency as related to the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, this research aims to explore the relationships between changes experienced by Nederland residents hosting a tourism economy during COVID-19 through a narrowed scope of identity, affect, and technology use – each representing important components of crisis and disaster management needing further exploration. Three objectives are established to achieve the aim of this research. First, to further the critical and affective turns within tourism scholarship through an embodied research design exploring identities of Nederland residents. Second, to assess the role of technology in navigating spatial and social realities of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting identities. Third, cultural realignment is used as a tool of analysis to explore processes and agents of change revealing power dynamics within Nederland including community resilience and representation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Influential literature from social-ecological and psychological resiliency, embodiment and affect, biocultural knowledge, identities, and technology underpins this research. Through an embodied approach, the worldviews of myself as researcher and Nederland residents become new contributions to knowledge by considering the body as an intersecting point between affective, biocultural, and technocultural influences. A crystallization methodology is employed guided by a feminist new materialist epistemology to construct a robust representation of resident accounts through critical qualitative methods. Reflexive thematic analysis of semi-structured, in-depth interviews is complemented by field notes and secondary sources such as online featuring and representation of Nederland to conceptualize identities at the individual and community scale. This investigation of identities within crisis management and resiliency through the research context of Nederland, Colorado conducts holistic, empirical reflection upon resident agency and community resilience to changes during COVID-19. This methodological approach elicits rich knowledge to conceptualize identities of Nederland residents as complex, affective embodiments of multi-scalar changes mediated by tourism impacts during the COVID-19.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Social-psychological factors influencing community engagement in urban biodiversity conservation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Champine, Veronica Murielle, author; Niemiec, Rebecca, advisor; Balgopal, Meena, committee member; Bruyere, Brett, committee member; Jones, Megan, committee member; Solomon, Jennifer, committee member
    As the human population grows and we continue to see rapid biodiversity loss, conserving natural resources in urbanized areas has become increasingly important. Motivating people to engage in pro-environmental behavior is one of the many strategies to address biodiversity. Strategic human action can help shape social norms and generate social movements that influence the social systems that intensify environmental degradation. This dissertation builds on the existing pro-environmental behavior literature and explores the motivators and barriers to different types of urban biodiversity conservation actions. These include personal-sphere behavior (i.e., participating in an action by oneself), social diffusion behavior (i.e., actions that disseminate information or behavior via social networks), and civic action behavior (i.e., citizenship actions to address a collective issue). In three articles, I use cross-sectional, experimental, and audience segmentation methods to compare the drivers of distinct behaviors, evaluate the impacts of theory-based outreach strategies, and identify target audiences for biodiversity conservation behaviors related to native plant gardening in the United States. Findings from this research can inform outreach strategies that promote greater community engagement in urban biodiversity conservation to support native wildlife and human wellbeing in urbanized areas.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Group-level social influences for carnivore restoration and management
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Gonzalez, Mireille N., author; Niemiec, Rebecca, advisor; Crooks, Kevin, committee member; Teel, Tara, committee member; Quartuch, Mike, committee member; Jacobson, Cynthia, committee member
    In this dissertation, I conducted research on how perceptions of the group level of the social system influence individuals' perspectives and behaviors related to carnivore restoration and management (CRM) in the U.S. American West. Using the case study of gray wolf (Canis lupus) reintroduction in Colorado, I explored three aspects of the group level of the social system. After nearly 80 years since their extirpation, environmental organizations advocating for wolf recovery introduced a ballot initiative (Proposition 114) that mandates Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the state wildlife agency, reintroduce wolves into Colorado by December 31st, 2023. In November 2020 Proposition 114 passed with about 51% of the votes (Colorado Election Results, 2020), marking the first ever U.S. reintroduction of an endangered species via a ballot initiative. In my first chapter, I used public survey data to explore how intragroup perceptions, or how perceptions of a group one identifies as belonging to, influenced individual and collective civic actions related to wolf reintroduction. I found that social norms influenced intended voting for Proposition 114 and plans for those individuals that opposed reintroduction to engage in collective action against reintroduction. In my second chapter, I used stakeholder interview data to examine perspectives of what would make a stakeholder engagement process, that brings together conflicting stakeholders to collaboratively build recommendations for wolf restoration and management, successful. Stakeholders expected that the process should be representative, transparent, and actively inclusive and that it should foster two-way dialogue. Additionally, to be considered successful, they believed it should achieve the social outcomes of conflict reduction, social learning, increased trust in agency, and increased support for the management plan. Lastly, in my third chapter, I used stakeholder interview data to examine how perspectives of the outgroup, or a group one does not identify as belonging to, influence social conflict about wolf reintroduction. I found that conflict was fueled by perceptions that the outgroup is unjust, misinformed, homogenous, and unmalleable. Overall, my dissertation expands our collective understanding of the multi-scalar influencers to human behavior that affect carnivore restoration and management. Based on these findings, I recommend how to develop interventions and stakeholder engagement that can help achieve desired social outcomes related to CRM objectives.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Testing a model of customer service and satisfaction of a luxury wingshooting lodge experience
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Franks, Todd, author; Bright, Alan, advisor; Kang, Soo, committee member; O'Leary, Joseph, committee member; Teel, Tara, committee member
    This paper explores the application of a customer service and satisfaction model from the outdoor recreation industry to a luxury wingshooting destination. Specifically, it investigates the possibility that domain-level satisfaction will mediate the specific relationship between customer service components and the guests' overall satisfaction with the luxury hunting lodge experience. Data were collected via quantitative self-administered surveys (n=525 completed surveys) that measured three levels of visitor satisfaction (26 individual service items, three service domains, and overall satisfaction), which were administered to guests at a luxury wingshooting destination over four South Dakota pheasant preserve hunting seasons (2017 - 2020) which run from September 1 until March 31 of the following year. This research tested the extent to which satisfaction across three domains (hunting, customer service, & facilities) mediated the influence of 26 individual service items in predicting overall satisfaction with the luxury hunting lodge experience. The 26 service items represented certain areas of satisfaction (domains), and the mediation analysis was limited to those specific domains. Results indicated that satisfaction with each of the three domains partially mediated the relationship between overall satisfaction with the luxury hunting lodge experience and the individual service items. Next, I combined all of the significant individual service items and their three satisfaction domains into one single regression model, with overall satisfaction with the luxury hunting lodge experience as the dependent variable. Of the ten significant service items and three service domains, only five variables proved to be significant, accounting for 76.8% of the explained variance in overall satisfaction with the luxury hunting lodge experience.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring Latino and Latina anglers' motivations, constraints, and negotiation strategies for recreational fishing in Colorado to improve participation and experience
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Basto Eyzaguirre, Arianna, author; Lavoie, Anna, advisor; Teel, Tara, committee member; Quartuch, Mike, committee member; Bombaci, Sara, committee member
    This study aimed to inform efforts to improve diversity of and access to recreational fishing with a focus on Latino communities in Colorado. To fill the gap in the literature, this study to explore the motivations, constraints, and negotiation strategies of Latino(a) anglers, and how the interaction of these factors, and ethnicity and gender identity shaped their fishing participation and experience. The analysis was informed by the Outdoor Recreation Framework, and from which we adapted two leisure constraint models. Sixteen men and twelve women were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Major motivations to fish were being outdoors, for relaxation, socialization, and to be role models for Latinos and women. Spending time with others was reported by participants as a motivation, constraint, and negotiation strategy, and family is prioritized when negotiating fishing versus their needs. The main constraints reported were time management and financial resources, of which participants had strategies in place to successfully negotiate them or modify plans enabling them to go fishing. However, participants experienced harassment and dismissal and felt unwelcome at fishing sites which they attributed to their Latino ethnicity. They also reported constraints impacting the broader Latino community, including immigration status, licensing barriers, and racism. While these constraints did not prevent Latinos completely from fishing, they may permanently inhibit or diminish their participation and experience. There was very little difference in factors effecting participation among genders, but constraints expressed by women, such as being dismissed, being harassed at fishing sites, or not having women role-models or teachers, were attributed to the intersection of their ethnicity and gender. Our findings unique to Latinos can inform natural resource management agency recruitment, and education and outreach efforts, and future studies focused on minoritized groups to help identify and potentially remove barriers to angling and other outdoor activities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Comparing the social psychological drivers of personal sphere, social diffusion, and civic action behaviors for native plant gardening
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Tamlyn, Kaiya, author; Niemiec, Rebecca, advisor; Teel, Tara, committee member; Abrams, Katie, committee member
    Protecting biodiversity and conserving water, especially in urban environments, are crucial facets of conservation efforts that can be supported by gardening with native plant species. However, native plant gardening at the individual or personal sphere level is not enough. There is also a need for citizens to participate in behaviors outside of the personal sphere, such as social diffusion and civic action, to influence the networks and social systems in which they are embedded to achieve more rapid, large-scale environmental change. Little is known, however, about whether the social-psychological drivers of behaviors outside of the personal sphere are distinct from the drivers of personal sphere action. To address this, we examined the factors influencing personal sphere, social diffusion, and civic action behaviors in the context of native plant gardening in the United States. Through a nationwide survey conducted in February 2023 (n = 1,201), we found that, while there was some overlap, each behavior type was motivated by distinct, often behavior-specific, variables. Personal sphere-specific self-efficacy and age predicted personal sphere behavior; social diffusion-specific dynamic norms (perceptions that the behavior of others is changing) and moral exporting (an individual's inclination to encourage others to embrace their moral position) predicted social diffusion behavior; introversion predicted civic action behavior; and behavior-specific personal norms predicted all three behavior types. We also examined the prevalence of each type of behavior and found that personal sphere behaviors are the most commonly practiced, followed by social diffusion behaviors and then civic action behaviors. Our findings suggest that to motivate social diffusion and civic action behaviors, practitioners may have to design outreach interventions that target the unique social-psychological drivers of these behaviors.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Wildlife-human relations and education in community-based marine tourism: a case study of coastal Oregon, U.S.A.
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Fennell, Samuel R., author; Bright, Alan, advisor; Knight, David, committee member; Snodgrass, Jeffrey, committee member
    The tourism industry has witnessed an increased use of non-human animals, both within various attractions as well as in advertisements. This increased interaction and reliance can generate significant hazards which threaten the well-being of these non-human animals and require ongoing study. Animals in marine and community-based tourism destinations, in particular (e.g., coastal Oregon), are facing considerable pressures from tourism and climate change. In view of these concerns, this thesis represents a multi-species and multi-sited ethnography investigating the complexities around degrowth management, tourism policy, and education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic within select Oregonian coastal and marine community-based tourism destinations. Utilizing a posthumanist critical lens, researchers gathered and thematically analyzed data gathered from local inhabitants on Oregon's coast. For efficiency and proficiency, the study employed the Vertical Integrated Projects (VIP) education model, allowing members to gain a hands-on and individualized educational experience. This study has significant relevance for the anthropology of tourism and environmental anthropology literature and broadens current understanding of marine and community-based tourism. Practical implications hold promise for the livelihoods of local Oregonian coastal animals, as well.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Experiential course's impact on students' beliefs and behaviors of nature as a well-being strategy
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Warners, Micah, author; Bruyere, Brett, advisor; Walker, Sarah, committee member; Zaretsky, Jill, committee member
    The purpose of this thesis was to assess if an experiential field course influenced behaviors about nature immersion as a well-being strategy, investigate what behavior changes were affected by the course, and explore if components of behavior change theory emerged from the course. Additionally, this thesis explored the components of the experiential course that participants perceive as impactful on their beliefs and behaviors about nature as a well-being strategy. A mixed methods approach, including both nature-log surveys and interviews, was used to assess participant perceptions of their nature experiences, as well as impactful components of the experiential course, before and after the course. Participants underscored changes in behavior, including use of nature as a stress management strategy and finding new opportunities to experience nature close to home, work, and school. While frequency of nature experience did not increase for course participants throughout the following four months (from summer to early winter), it also did not decrease as it did for the control group during the same period. From participant self-assessments, components of behavior change that emerged include changes in beliefs and attitudes about the benefits and importance of nature experiences. Components of the experiential course that participants perceive as impactful include pairing of course content with experiential learning, learning alongside classmates with whom they could process, and the lack of technology and internet access. Implications include how education can promote beliefs and behaviors around nature as a well-being strategy, the importance of nature around people's homes, schools, and work, and designing experiential courses with the components that students perceived as impactful. We recommend future research that explores how to further promote behavior change, including by emphasizing the COM-B system's essential conditions of opportunity and motivation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nature's contributions to people: socio-economic assessments of strategies to conserve natural capital and guide the sustainable provision and equitable distribution of ecosystem services in developing countries
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Salcone, Jacob, author; Jones, Kelly W., advisor; Manning, Dale, committee member; Seidl, Andrew, committee member; Manson, Robert, committee member
    Natural resources continue to be unsustainably used and their benefits inequitably shared. In many instances economic incentives and resource management approaches have not led to the sustainable use or equitable distribution of the benefits of natural resources such as fisheries and forests. This has occurred in part because policy makers and natural resource users and managers, particularly in developing countries, lack information about the outcomes and impacts of current economic incentives that drive natural resource use behavior and potential alternative strategies for resource governance and management. This dissertation uses theories and approaches from the discipline of natural resource economics to measure the benefits of natural resource use under current governance approaches, evaluate the effectiveness of popular natural resource conservation strategies, and propose options for improving the effectiveness of those strategies in developing countries, thus contributing scientific evidence to the body of literature on the effectiveness of natural resource management approaches. In three chapters, it evaluates: 1) the effectiveness of a PES scheme in securing additional provision of watershed ecosystem services, 2) the elasticity of supply of watershed ecosystem services as a function of payments for forest conservation, and 3) the use of an ecosystem services perspective to measure the distribution of benefits from wild capture fisheries to different stakeholder groups. Chapter 1 finds that PES impacts may be somewhat offset by leakages; Chapter 2 finds that participation in PES programs could be increased by higher payments, but the relationship between payments and participation is non-linear; and Chapter 3 that an ecosystem services perspective can shed new light on managing fisheries for greatest local benefits and sustainability. These three independent analyses improve our understanding of natural resource management by dissecting resource management concepts, building upon existing ecosystem service valuation and evaluation methods, and supplying empirical evidence to resource management debates.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the relationship between northern Colorado science teachers' environmental and pedagogical value orientations and their implementation of place-based education
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Conlon, Miranda "Andie", author; Salerno, Jonathan D., advisor; Balgopal, Meena M., committee member; Bruyere, Brett L., committee member; Crooks, Kevin R., committee member
    Place-based education (PBE) offers teachers a unique opportunity to increase engagement and academic outcomes while also strengthening students' connection to their environment and inspiring future stewardship. However, because PBE is not a required instructional tool, classroom teachers must independently choose to implement this teaching strategy, particularly when discussing topics surrounding wildlife and the environment. Thus, it is important for environmental education researchers to understand what drives teachers to pursue this pedagogical behavior. While there is a lack of direct predictive validity between values and behaviors, theory suggests that there is more to be found by exploring the value orientations of teachers and how that may influence their curricular choices. Using interviews with 11 middle and high school science teachers in Northern Colorado, we took a qualitative approach to assessing the relationship between teachers' value orientations – both environmental and pedagogical – and their perceptions of pedagogical behaviors. Through thematic coding and analysis, we discovered that Mutualist value orientations coincide with both an Ecological Integration approach to pedagogy and pedagogical behaviors that connect students with their environment, such as place-based education. Our findings have implications for the potential of place-based education to foster pro-environmental value orientations and behaviors among future generations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Implications of natural boundaries for placemaking as a collaborative practice between humans and animals
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Taylor, Marley, author; Thomsen, Bastian, advisor; Knight, David, committee member; Kogan, Lori, committee member
    Living beings (flora and fauna) coexist within natural environments, sharing physical locations both temporally and spatially. When applied beyond the human scope, "place" takes on new meaning as humans and nonhuman animals each take part in their own placemaking practices. This study evaluates the practice of placemaking as it relates to long-term wildlife-human cohabitation and coexistence. Here, placemaking refers to the practice of attributing meaning to geographic locations or physical objects. Integrating compassionate conservation and multispecies livelihoods, researchers employed a patchwork ethnography methodology to identify patterns in collaborative placemaking. They also drew from a Multispecies Livelihoods framework, including compassionate conservation, which aims to conserve biodiversity and planetary climate at the individual rather than species level. Through ethnographic semi-structured interviews, archival research, and participant observation methodology, 16 researchers from Colorado State University's (CSU's) Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department and CSU's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program partnered with three wildlife rehabilitation centers and a veterinary teaching hospital in Costa Rica. The research team interviewed participants, conducted observations, and gathered data to analyze the effects of natural barriers to human activity in Costa Rica on collective placemaking practices. This research is based on a three-week pilot study in January 2022 titled, 'Wildlife Rehabilitation for Conservation', led by Dr. Bastian Thomsen. This initial pilot project aimed to inform future studies on the use of natural barriers, rather than constructed barriers, to foster animal welfare, wildlife-human coexistence, and more sustainable animal-human relationships. Findings suggest that collaborative placemaking, which is heavily influenced by natural boundaries, is a viable strategy for encouraging positive wildlife-human interactions and successful coexistence.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pathways toward a posthumanist approach to wildlife-human coexistence: a case study of environmental policies and education in Costa Rica
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Schneider, Amy, author; Thomsen, Bastian, advisor; Knight, David, committee member; Snodgrass, Jeffrey, committee member
    This thesis project is a two-part evaluation of policy creation and environmental education in Costa Rica. Part I applies a posthumanist theoretical framework to a patchwork ethnography methodology to identify patterns within perceptions and implementation of environmental policy. Methods selected include semi-structured interviews and participant observation accomplished during a January 2022 pilot study in Costa Rica where the research team partnered with three wildlife rehabilitation centers of varying size. In conjunction with this posthumanist evaluation of current policy, actor perceptions, and creation of legislation, Part II assesses the use of a Vertical Integrated Project (VIP) model in correlation with environmental education practices and programs. Findings suggest, based on additional analyses of interviews and participant observation, that values play a significant role in the creation, content, and enforcement of environmental policies in Costa Rica. Further, the use of the VIP model in research methods directly mirrors many of the environmental education programs and techniques demonstrated by the partnering centers. These findings illustrate potential pathways forward for other environmentally conscious nations to foster coexistence and shift the way wildlife is perceived and valued on a national scale.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Measuring social-ecological resilience in fire prone systems of northern Colorado
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Cheney, Alyson, author; Jones, Kelly, advisor; Salerno, Jon, committee member; Stevens-Rumann, Camille, committee member
    This thesis fills a gap in temporally and spatially applied knowledge on the perceptions people hold about social-ecological system (SES) resilience. Using a SES framework, we developed a contextualized set of resilience indicators and through stakeholder interviews and surveys we used these indicators to characterize subjective measures of SES resilience in two fire-prone watersheds of northern Colorado. Through stakeholder perceptions, we assessed current and wildfire-driven changes to resilience as well as recommended pre- and post-wildfire management actions and priorities for future systems resilience. Except for watershed processes variability, large scale wildfires did not significantly influence perceived resilience of most ecological indicators. Wildfire events, however, had strong negative influence on perceived resilience of ecosystem service indicators but were perceived to catalyze benefits in social dimensions of resilience. In terms of management actions and future resilience, stakeholders underscored a need for increased pace, scale, and connectivity of fuel treatments with particular interest in prescribed fire. While current stakeholder connectivity was high, continued prioritization of partnerships remains a focus for future resilience. Our findings can be used to improve wildfire management actions for both ecosystems and communities and our resilience indicators can be applied to comparable watershed systems to measure subjective perceptions of SES resilience.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding pro-environmental behavior and improving social network research methods to inform conservation management
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) Clements, Kaylin Renee, author; Solomon, Jennifer N., advisor; Cross, Jennifer E., committee member; Niemiec, Rebecca M., committee member; McCarty, Christopher, committee member
    Conservation issues exist in the context of social-ecological systems, with human activities driving threats to species, habitats, and important ecosystem functions. The successes and failures of conservation efforts depend on how humans behave. Likewise, human behavior is crucial to rectifying these problems. Understanding why humans behave in ways that help or hinder conservation efforts is vital to effectively manage and prevent threats to natural resources, such as invasive species. Research specific to each social-ecological context on how social networks, knowledge, and other cultural and social psychological factors influence behavior is needed to inform management decisions. In addition, effective and efficient social science methods are needed for practitioners to assess relevant behaviors more easily. This dissertation contributes evidence that advances our understanding of pro-environmental behaviors that help control invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in Belize and Florida and provides insights into data collection methods on social networks. Each manuscript assesses factors that influence a specific target behavior. The first manuscript (Chapter 2) explores what factors affect consumption of the venomous, but edible, invasive lionfish in Belize. To determine the viability of a lionfish market in Belize, a national study of Belizeans (n = 400) and foreign tourists (n = 400) was implemented using structured surveys that assessed consumers' willingness to try lionfish, knowledge about lionfish, attitudes toward purchasing lionfish, and fear of trying new foods, or food neophobia. Findings show that most Belizeans and foreign tourists are willing to eat lionfish given the opportunity, but that a misperception that lionfish is not safe to eat and availability are barriers to eating lionfish. Belizeans, though concerned about lionfish, are less willing to consume lionfish than tourists and more likely to believe lionfish are unsafe to eat. In addition, when asked why they would not eat lionfish, the most common reasons Belizeans described were related to perceived danger or preference. These and other findings about consumer behavior toward seafood in Belize, such as that Belizeans primarily choose to eat seafood for health reasons and prefer snapper to other types of seafood, provide important insights into opportunities to grow demand for lionfish and decrease barriers related to risk perceptions. The second manuscript (Chapter 3) shares findings from a mixed methods study to understand how motivation and social capital affect removal of lionfish in Florida by spearfishers who hunt lionfish, or lionfish hunters. Findings are shared from semi-structured interviews (N = 75) as well as an online structured survey of 186 lionfish hunters. Results show that lionfish hunters who are motivated by money kill more lionfish than those motivated by other reasons. However, this group is very small in number and is sensitive to decreased lionfish numbers because it is prohibitive to commercial spearfishers' ability to profit from them. In addition, lionfish hunters who have a social contact who helps them sell lionfish kill more lionfish. However, this is still a small group. Most lionfish hunters in Florida are motivated to kill lionfish to protect Florida's reefs, to eat lionfish, and because it's fun. In addition, most feel an obligation or duty to kill lionfish in order to protect the reefs. Effective management strategies, therefore, should engage lionfish hunters across motivations to maintain consistent and long-term control of the population. In addition, practitioners should continue to cultivate a community around lionfish removal to better support money-motivated lionfish hunters' efforts to sell lionfish. The third manuscript (Chapter 4) investigates the efficacy of including an example social network map in an online structured survey to increase responses to questions about social network contacts. Social network research can be inhibited by willingness of respondents to provide names and contact information of themselves and their acquaintances. For social network research to be more feasible among practitioners in the conservation field and beyond, effective methods for collecting this type of information are essential. This experimental study compared responses (N = 186) to social network questions between those who completed a survey with an example social network map versus a survey without a map. Results show that the example map did not increase provision of network contacts and did not influence the types of ties reported. Therefore, while a map may not help in collecting more data, if it is necessary to include for explanatory purposes in a social network survey, it likely will not bias responses. Resistance among respondents to providing this information in this study demonstrate the need for further exploration into effective social network data collection methods for large groups, especially when snowball sampling is necessary.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Towards value pluralism, knowledge pluralism, and recognitional justice: improving integration of cultural benefits of ecosystem services in environmental decision-making
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) Hoelting, Kristin R., author; Gavin, Michael C., advisor; Martinez, Doreen E., committee member; Schuster, Rudy M., committee member; Schultz, Courtney A., committee member
    This mainstreaming of the ecosystem services (ES) concept and approach is reflected in its adoption by governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, including in the United States: in 2015, a U.S. Federal Memorandum directed all Federal agencies to integrate ES information in their decision-making processes. In principle this momentum represents an opportunity for improved consideration of the cultural benefits of ES in decision-making, as part of the improved consideration of ES as a whole. However, there is concern that cultural benefits – and the plural values and multiple knowledge systems they reveal – are being left behind in processes of standardization in ES theory and practice. Cultural benefits challenge the emphasis on instrumental values common in the ES field. Further, in revealing the culturally contextual and situated character of all ES, cultural benefits challenge the universalizing and generalizing tendencies common in this field. More meaningful consideration of the cultural benefits of ES, as one strand of a larger movement toward value pluralism and knowledge pluralism, is a question of both equity and ecological outcomes. On-going conversations and critiques in the ES field around how to create space for multiple worldviews, including multiple human-nature relationships and well-beings, are critical to bringing environmental management into alignment with environmental justice, including distributional, procedural, and recognitional justice for current and future generations. In addition, ensuring a place for currently marginalized knowledge systems in ES theory and practice, including place-based and Indigenous ways of knowing, brings new solutions to the table and increases the adaptive capacity of managers and decision-makers at local and global scales as they face into growing global environmental challenges. To support movement toward knowledge pluralism in ES theory and practice, the three manuscripts presented in this dissertation offer: 1) a conceptual framework that reveals ES-knowledge as a system, seeking to support personal and collective reflexivity around the role of worldviews embedded in our institutions and the implications of this (Manuscript 1); 2) a theoretical model of learning opportunities for integration of a diverse forms of knowledge, and explores how some cultural-benefits-knowledge-forms are more likely to convey non-instrumental, relational value aspects or holistic value perspectives, and more likely to be effectively considered at particular stages of decision-making (Manuscript 2); and 3) an Opportunities Framework that can be used to systematically identify available forms of cultural-benefits-knowledge, and the opportunities that exist to integrate these knowledge forms in a particular decision context (Manuscript 3). This final manuscript both introduces the framework and illustrates its potential by applying it to a past decision process: Elwha River dam removal and restoration in Washington State, U.S.A. Next steps for research and application of a knowledge-pluralist ES approach are discussed in the dissertation's conclusion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    How wildlife value orientations relate to broader cultural constructs
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) White, Wesley R., author; Manfredo, Michael, advisor; Teel, Tara, committee member; Henry, Kim, committee member
    Previous research suggests that studying human thought processes in relation to broad cultural constructs holds promise for strengthening the application of the social sciences to wildlife management and conservation, and through this paper we attempt to advance those efforts. Researchers in social and cross-cultural psychology have long studied cultural constructs, in particular tightness-looseness and individualism-collectivism, shown as powerful dividers in contrasting cultures. While it is known that cultural differences exist, the extent of the strength of variance and if these cultural elements can be systematized to make generalized predictions about effects on cognitions is not clear. The theory of wildlife value orientations (WVOs) suggests that WVOs are interlinked with cultural constructs, including broad cultural ideologies described as egalitarianism and domination, or mastery, and that they are embedded in a hierarchy of cognitions. However, explicit tests of these relationships are largely lacking. As proposed by a multilevel model applied in recent WVO research in the U.S., forces of modernization (e.g., increased wealth, education, urbanization) have changed culture via a shift in the social-ecological context, which in turn has prompted a shift from domination to mutualism WVOs. As modernization has changed discrete aspects of culture, the ideology of egalitarianism believed to underly mutualism has become more pervasive, and persons have increasingly begun to view animals relationally as non-human others and less as a resource to be mastered. It would then follow that collectivist cultures, strong in egalitarianism values, may exhibit a tendency towards holding a mutualist orientation. Similarly, as tight cultures show greater propensity to exert inward group pressure, they may also exhibit a tendency toward outward control of their environment as is seen in a domination WVO. Here, we used data collected in a pilot study during the spring of 2015, along with additional data from the 2018 America's Wildlife Values project, to investigate whether WVOs have significant correlations with collectivism and individualism and tightness and looseness. Results of this research show that, while tightness and looseness show a linkage, collectivism and individualism are not significantly related to WVOs. This discovery is notable as it informs not only how conservation and wildlife management messaging may need to be structured for greatest efficacy, but it reveals that the mode and messenger may be of equal importance. We discuss the implications of these findings for conservation, as well as additional research needs to further elucidate the connection between WVOs and broader cultural constructs.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding protected areas: an analysis of drivers of forest loss and conservation trends
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) Powlen, Kathryn Ann, author; Gavin, Michael, advisor; Boone, Randall, committee member; Jones, Kelly, committee member; Solomon, Jennifer, committee member
    Global forests harbor much of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, provide critical ecosystem services, and directly support the livelihoods of over a billion people. Nonetheless, forest cover continues to decline rapidly, largely due to human-driven land use changes, such as conversion for agriculture, urban expansion, and increased forest market demands. Protected areas are one of the most common conservation tools used to counter global forest loss. However, forest conversion has been found to persist in protected areas globally. Understanding the diverse factors driving forest cover change in protected area is critical for ensuring forest conservation success. This dissertation contributes evidence to help advance our understanding of protected area performance through three empirical manuscripts. Each manuscript uses a unique approach to examine drivers of conservation outcomes in protected areas at different scales. All three manuscripts are focused on Mexico's protected area network. The first manuscript uses a machine learning approach – random forest regression – to identify the main drivers of deforestation in protected areas across Mexico. By comparing the relative importance of multiple socioeconomic, biophysical, and protected area design characteristics in driving forest loss, this manuscript highlights the important role that placement characteristics, such as topography and proximity to development, can play in protected area conservation success. Additionally, results from this manuscript demonstrate the nonlinearity of the relationships between most forest loss predictors and observed deforestation. The second manuscript uses a propensity score matching approach to quantify the influence of protected area management effectiveness on forest loss outcomes in protected areas across Mexico. This manuscript finds critical evidence that protected areas with high levels of management effectiveness reduce forest loss to a greater extent than those with lower management effectiveness. This manuscript also finds that multiple dimensions of management, such as effective planning, collaborative decision-making, equitable benefit sharing, as well as sufficient financial and human resources, can contribute to the reduction of forest loss. The final manuscript examines how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced protected areas and conservation outcomes across Mexico. This manuscript measures protected area managers' perceptions of the impacts of the pandemic on protected area inputs, mechanisms, moderators, and non-compliance. We find a perceived decrease in human capacity, monitoring capacity, and tourism, and an increase in a number of non-compliant activities in 2020 compared to 2019. Understanding how protected areas are impacted by unexpected global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for building more resilient protected area networks in the future. Together the three manuscripts demonstrate the range of factors that can influence protected area performance, including landscape characteristics, protected area management practices, and global events. By advancing our understanding of the factors influencing protected area performance, we can improve conservation planning, more strategically allocate resources, and more proactively protect key biodiversity areas in the future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transformational change in conservation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2021) Toombs, Theodore Patrick, author; Knight, Richard L., advisor; Cross, Jennifer E., advisor; Teel, Tara L., committee member; Neimeic, Rebecca, committee member
    This dissertation explores a fundamental question for the conservation profession and society at large: How can we more effectively create the transformational change necessary to solve complex conservation problems? To do so, it's important to understand processes of transformational change and how they can be strategically utilized to address conservation problems. The lack of inclusion of social and systemic sciences into conservation science and practice hinders the profession's understanding of transformational change. Socio-ecological systems theory and social science have many insights to offer, but these insights have not been systematically incorporated into science and practice or coalesced into an integrated theory despite repeated appeals from social scientists. Each chapter of this dissertation takes a unique perspective on change. Chapter 2 explores the value orientations of Illinois farmers as important knowledge in the process of creating changes in individual behavior. Chapter 3 is a case study of conservation program that failed to materialize in part due to lack of attention to broader social issues. Chapter 4 is a synthesis of critiques of the current conservation paradigm that illustrate its bias toward individualistic, agentic theories of change that result from mainstream adoption of individual, neoliberal ideology. Many conservation problems are social and systemic in nature, yet the professions dominant theory of change is based on a theoretical perspective of these problems as individualistic, behavior problems. To address this, a more integrative set of theoretical perspectives is needed. Chapter 5 articulates a new, integrative theory of change (TTC) composed of four interdependent sets of mechanisms that can be enacted through strategic, conservation action in collaborative, place-based settings: (a) building communities of practice; (b) empowering individual catalysts; (c) reconfiguring the system; and (d) connecting across dimensions. I propose a set of testable propositions related to each of these components. The aim of the TTC is to integrate existing social and systems science insights into conservation science and practice, expand the set of potential interventions available, and improve the profession's ability to create the change necessary to address the world's most pressing conservation issues.