Human Dimensions I

Contributed Paper
ROOM: CC, Room 16

8:10AM Understanding the “Who” in Conservation: Why It Matters
Nadia Tenouri
Environmental and wildlife management practices are at their core greatly affected by who is making the decisions for how to manage and address issues. Thus, it is of distinct significance to understand how the makeup of conservation decision making bodies affects environmental management processes and practices. This research looks in particular at how gender factors into the environmental management space by investigating three major questions: 1) what is the representation of men and women in conservation leadership in New Zealand, 2) how, if at all, do male and female practitioners differ in their environmental values, priorities and strategies for management, and 3) how does gender factor into the decision making space and its processes? To answer these questions, a sample of five large national and seven small local organizations were selected based on their significance nationally or locally. Secondary data on gender representation by tier was procured through contact with each organization, and interviews were conducted with executive members of each organization. Additionally, a survey aimed at understanding gender differences in conservation values, priorities, and strategies was distributed to employees of numerous environmental organizations across the country. Results demonstrate that women make up a large portion of conservation organizations generally but a small portion of leadership roles, that male and female practioners are overall quite similar in ideology with a few important exceptions (i.e. strength of biophilic ideologies, preference for regulation of industry, etc.), and that gender make-up of environmental decision making groups may have important impacts on things like stakeholder engagement, length of deliberation on issues, etc. Overall, this research provides an important addition to the pool of information available on the human dimensions of wildlife management, as it furthers our understanding of the importance of considering why the “who” matters for wildlife management.
8:30AM When Worlds Collide: Continent-Wide Variation in Bird-Window Collision Mortality
April A. Conkey; Stephen B. Hager; Bradley J. Cosentino
An estimated 1 billion birds are killed in window collision events per year in North America. Building characteristics and surrounding land cover influence bird-window collisions at a local level; however, little is known about collisions at large spatial scales. Researchers at 40 university campuses across North America used standardized protocols to document bird-window collision (BWC) mortality during the fall 2014 bird migration season. We surveyed 281 buildings of different sizes with varying degrees of local land-cover and urbanization. Buildings were categorized (small, medium, and large) according to window area, number of floors, and floor space area; in addition, land-cover within 50 m of each building was classified. Carcass surveys were conducted around each building’s perimeter for an average of 21 consecutive days from late August – late October in 2014. Bird mortalities (n = 324) ranged from 0 – 34 per site (mean =8.1) with 71 species documented. Migratory passerines had the highest mortality (91%) compared to resident species (9%). Bird-window collision mortality was positively related to building size, but urbanization also had an effect. Large buildings with low levels of regional urbanization had higher mortality than large buildings in areas of high urbanization, while small buildings had low bird mortality regardless of the degree of urbanization. On a local, longer-term scale (5 consecutive years), 58% of BWC mortalities at the Texas site (low urbanization) were resident species (compared to 42% migratory bird mortalities), and 65% of all mortalities occurred at one 2-story medium sized building. Thus, BWC prevention measures should be implemented at all large buildings (> 5 stories, >4181 m2 window area), but mitigation measures should also be considered for medium sized buildings (2-4 stories, 186 – 4181 m2 window area) with contributing factors, such as regional low urbanization, low surrounding structure density, and large lawn size.
8:50AM Public Land and Human Well Being in the Northern Forest
Kathryn Frens; William Porter
The existence and management of public land has long been a source of contention in the United States. Rural residents living in areas with large amounts of public land often believe that public land negatively affects their quality of life due to a perceived tradeoff between conservation and the economy. However, while many studies have argued over the costs and benefits of public land in general, there is little objective research on the relationship between public land and elements of social or economic wellbeing in the United States. The objective of this study is to examine the relationships among public land and several elements of socioeconomic wellbeing in townships in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and New York’s Adirondack Park. These areas were chosen because of their large amounts of public land and their contrasting approaches to land use policy. We used a mixed-methods approach that combined survey and US Census data to define elements of wellbeing in these two regions. We then related the elements of wellbeing to the amount and management of public land using Bayesian general linear modeling. Our results suggest mixed effects of public land on human wellbeing: public land had no effect on income or unemployment, but the percentage of second homes in a township increased as the amount of public land in the township increased. Second homes can be understood as an element of inequality in a community, as well as a symptom of the “culture clash” between newer and longer-term residents that has been described in the rural sociology literature. We conclude that public land likely affects community wellbeing primarily in ways not previously recognized by natural resources practitioners or policy makers. These effects should be considered when deciding whether to protect land and how to manage protected areas.
9:10AM Food Choices, Environmental Impacts, and Conservation
Garrett Lentz
With the human population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and with stabilization improbable within the century, meeting the needs of people across the world while retaining environmental integrity will be a challenge. Agriculture, and particularly animal agriculture, is a key driver in a broad range of environmental and wildlife issues including loss of natural habitat and biodiversity, increased soil erosion and decreased soil fertility, soil and water pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, and greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of animal products on wildlife and the environment has now been well recognized, with organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations publishing reports that heavily implicate animal agriculture and the consumption of animal products as a major threat to environmental sustainability. Despite this strong evidence and call for action, relatively little investigation has been undertaken to understand how we might shift people toward more sustainable behavior in this arena. This research looks at understanding and influencing individual food behavior to create a more sustainable future. Using a survey of 841 people and an information provision experiment with a group of 85 college students, data was gathered on a wide variety of measures to help shed light on why people eat what they do, what motivations they have for doing so, and what impacts different types of information have on individual eating behavior and attitudes. Results show that awareness of the environmental impact of eating choices is low, that motivations for meat consumption vary by consumer group, and that information provision is a promising avenue to change public opinion and behavior in this arena. The information gained from this research has important practical applications for addressing wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability.
9:30AM Wild Meat Sharing and Consumption and Attitudes Toward Hunting
Amber D. Goguen; Shawn J. Riley
Wild meat – meat derived from wildlife – is consumed, shared, bartered, and traded for its nutritional, economic, ecological, and sociocultural importance in societies throughout the world. Evidence suggests that wild meat sharing and consumption function to connect hunters and non-hunters through the culturally significant act of sharing and consumption. We developed a questionnaire to assess patterns of consumption, attitudes toward hunting, hunters and wild meat, as well as consumers’ experiences and relationships to hunting. Our questionnaire went to a geographically stratified random sample of 6,000 Michigan residents in spring-summer 2016 using a modified Dillman total design method with non-response bias checks: 1,778 people returned completed questionnaires. Ninety percent of respondents reported consuming wild meat, with 56% reporting consuming wild meat in the 12 months prior to the survey. Forty-three different types of wild meat were identified, of which venison was reportedly consumed by 89% of respondents. Wild meat was received most often from family members who did not live in the household (53%), close friends (50%), members of the household (34%), self-harvest (25%), acquaintances (14%), community game dinner (12%), and food pantry or donation program (2%). A majority (75-81%) of respondents agreed that wild meat was a local, lean, nutritious food. Sharing and consumption where believed to be culturally important activities by respondents. Although increased frequency of consumption is a positive predictor of attitudes toward hunting and improves model fit, the size of these effects is small. Our findings demonstrate that despite no formal U.S. markets in wild meat, it is widely shared and distributed far beyond the population of hunters. Wild meat sharing and consumption are culturally important activities to some people and consumption can positively affect attitudes towards hunting.


Contributed Paper
Location: Cleveland CC Date: October 10, 2018 Time: 8:10 am - 9:50 am