Understanding the Human Dimensions of Waterfowl and Wetlands Stakeholders: A Continental Study

Symposium
ROOM: HCCC, Room 25B
SESSION NUMBER: 54
 
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is an international initiative originally developed to conserve continental waterfowl populations and habitats. Beginning in 2012, the Plan made a fundamental shift to focus on people as well as on waterfowl populations and habitats. It now includes a goal of “Growing numbers of waterfowl hunters, other conservationists and citizens who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation”. This effort represents the first of its kind to explicitly address the connections between ecological and social systems within a broad scale management plan. The North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee established a Human Dimensions Working Group (HDWG) and a Public Engagement Team to lead the waterfowl management community in developing coordinated, adaptive, strategic approaches to strengthen the connections between society and nature through hunting, bird watching, and participation in conservation. As a first step, the HDWG initiated a series of workshops with hunters and bird watchers in the U.S. and Canada and then surveyed waterfowl hunters (n = 9,144), bird watchers (n = 36,908), the public (n = 1,030), and waterfowl and wetlands professionals (n = 367). The HDWG solicited extensive input from the waterfowl management community when constructing the surveys and integrated this input with several theoretical perspectives/approaches focused on attitudes and behaviors, identity, social networks, and capacity building. The hunter and bird watcher surveys included discrete choice experiments (DCE). The 5 presentations in this proposed session will cover key issues and concepts addressed in the study.

8:10AM A Coordinated, Adaptive Framework for Birdwatcher and Waterfowl Hunter Public Engagement.
  David Cobb; Andrew Raedeke; David Fulton; Howie Harshaw; Holly Miller; Rudy Schuster; Jennie Duberstein; Ashley Dayer; Emily Wilkins
A Coordinated, Adaptive Framework for Birdwatcher and Waterfowl Hunter Public Engagement We provide an overview of the coordinated, adaptive framework that North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) partners are using to achieve the goal of “growing numbers of waterfowl hunters, other conservationists and citizens who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation.” This framework includes a set up phase and an iterative phase. In the set-up phase, Joint Ventures, Flyway Councils, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) and other partners developed conceptual models to describe a shared framework of understanding of the participation landscape in waterfowl-related recreation and conservation. We used these models to inform the development of workshops and surveys that are providing baseline information describing the participation landscape in the U.S. and Canada. Subsequently, we will use the baseline information provided by the surveys to establish objectives describing the desired future participation landscape among these and other publics (e.g., private landowners). Survey results also will be used to identify limiting factors to participation in waterfowl and wetland-related recreation and conservation that can be overcome through the strategic implementation of habitat management, waterfowl population management, and public engagement activities. In the iterative phase, partners will implement actions using adaptive approaches and use agreed upon measures to monitor success and accelerate the pace of learning. KEYWORDS: adaptive management, wetlands and wildlife management, outdoor recreation, conservation involvement
8:30AM Using Discrete Choice Experiments to Understand Trip Preferences of Birdwatchers and Waterfowl Hunters in the United States and Canada.
  David Fulton
We used discrete choice experiments (DCEs) across the United States and Canada to understand the preferences of waterfowl hunters (n = 8,123 US; n = 2,000 CAN) and birdwatchers (n = 33,071 US; n = 3,837 CAN) for different potential combinations of hunting and viewing experiences. Choice experiments present hypothetical scenarios to respondents to derive individuals’ preferences for alternatives composed of multiple resource and management attributes (Adamowicz, Louviere & Williams 1994; Louviere, Hensher & Swait 2000; Oh et al. 2005). Individual choices reflect the personal utility of attributes and attribute levels, and aggregated to estimate the utility of attributes and attribute levels in a population (McFadden 1981). The degree to which someone chooses one circumstance over another provides the ability to measure its perceived usefulness, or utility, to that person. Alternatives presented in these DCEs consisted of five hunting related attributes: 1) harvest; 2) access effort; 3) length of travel; 4) quantity of waterfowl; and 5) potential for interference/competition. Birdwatching alternatives consisted of seven attributes: 1) diversity; 2) rarity of birds; 3) number of birds; 4) ease of access; 5) wetlands presence; 6) naturalness; and 7) travel distance. We used hierarchical Bayes analysis in Sawtooth Software to estimate attribute importances and utilities. In summary, the order of importance of the waterfowl attributes was: 1) potential for interference/competition; 2) length of travel; 3) harvest; 4) quantity of waterfowl; and 5) access effort. The most important attributes in the choice of birdwatching trips were: 1) travel distance; 2) chance to see rare or unusual bird species; 3) the naturalness of the area; and 4) presence of wetlands. We applied latent class analysis and market simulation techniques to understand the influence of heterogeneity within the respondent sample on choice preferences.
8:50AM Influence of Social Networks and Identity Diversity on the Conservation Involvement of North American Waterfowl Hunters.
  Howie W. Harshaw; David C. Fulton; Holly Miller; Ashley A. Dayer; Andrew Raedeke; Jennie Duberstein; Rudy M. Schuster
The social connections that waterfowl hunters have with others can have implications for their involvement in waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Using a social network approach, we examined the role that social capital plays in North American waterfowl hunters’ (n = 9,512) involvement in conservation actions in order to identify the implications of these relationships for the management of wetlands and wildlife. The personal social networks of waterfowl hunters were measured using a position generator with 24 structural positions that represented unique relationships to the outdoors, wetlands, waterfowl, and conservation; this provided measures of the extent and diversity of respondents’ relationships (i.e., range of strong and weak ties), and the diversity of their identity/identities. A six-item Waterfowl/Wetlands Conservation Involvement Scale was constructed to measure involvement in waterfowl and wetlands conservation activities using a five-point interval scale; scale items included social, political, and individual actions. We argue that social network-based processes and social identity lead to (and support) participation in conservation activities. By linking the individual level of analysis to expressive outcomes, we explore the relationship between network range, identity diversity, and conservation involvement. A multiple regression that controlled for socio-demographic characteristics found that the three social network characteristics account for almost one-quarter of the variance in Waterfowl/Wetlands Conservation Involvement Scale scores (R2= 0.227). Range of strong and weak ties and the diversity of identities have significant positive effects on Conservation Involvement Scale scores: range of weak ties is relatively more important than range of strong ties in explaining waterfowl hunters’ involvement in conservation activities; identity diversity has a substantial effect on conservation involvement. Understanding the role of network range and identify diversity on conservation action may help conservation organizations to develop strategies that encourage these types of connections and improve conservation outcomes.
9:10AM Communicating Information on Nature-Related Topics: Information Channels and Trust in Sources Preferred By the American Public.
  Rudy Schuster
Information channels refer to the places someone goes to obtain information (i.e., online, radio, visual media, taking with others). This can also be referred to as the mode in which the message is delivered. The source of information refers to the person or organization that is distributing the information. Trustworthiness and expertise are two key characteristics that are associated with the believability of the source. Information channels and sources both play an important role in the dissemination of information. Trust in a source is often used as a proxy for whether a particular piece of information is credible. The objectives of this study are to: (1) determine the most preferred channels for receiving information on nature-related topics, (2) investigate which sources have high levels of trust on nature-related topics, and (3) explore differences in channel preferences and levels of trust based on demographics. Development of constructs and 7 hypotheses were based on previous research and guided by the Elaboration Likelihood Model. A mail-out survey was sent to 5,000 randomly selected adults in the United States (23% response rate, n=1,030). Data were reduced using principal components analysis. Relationships were explored using forward stepwise linear regressions. Overall, the most preferred channels were personal experience, reading online content, and watching visual media online. The most trusted sources were science organizations, universities, and friends/family. Channel preferences were most influenced by level of education and age, while trust in sources were most influenced by education, race, age, and size of current residence (rural-urban). Influence of demographics varied based on the individual channel and source. Discussion will focus on how the results can contribute to effectively communicating information to the U.S. public on nature-related topics, such as conservation, outdoor recreation, public lands, or wildlife.
9:30AM Trust in Wildlife Management: Comparing Hunters and Birdwatchers.
  Kristina Slagle; Alia M. Dietsch; David C. Fulton; Robyn S. Wilson; Jeremy T. Bruskotter
Trust acts as a social lubricant—enabling diverse societies to function and manage various forms of risk. Risks in wildlife management present a two-pronged challenge: some risks inherent to wildlife can be managed by the individual, other risks are risks posed to the species themselves. Agencies are not solely responsible for the former, but are by law responsible for managing the latter. To what degree do publics focused on each type of risk trust state or federal agencies? We use data from 3 large, nationwide surveys of U.S. residents, waterfowl hunters, and birdwatchers, as well as a narrowly-focused issue public survey. Trust in federal and state agencies averaged just above the midpoint across all samples, suggesting that wildlife agencies do not either enjoy blind confidence or distrust. Correlations between trust scores for both wildlife agencies were large for the national samples (r = 0.70 – 0.75), suggesting that the public writ large does not distinguish between state and federal wildlife agencies. We correlated trust with social identities, and found that for the hunters and birdwatchers, these were low (r < 0.10). Among residents, environmentalist identification correlated with trust in federal agencies (r = 0.25) and conservationist identification correlated with both state (r = 0.22) and federal (r = 0.20) agencies. For the issue public, identification as a hunter, gun rights advocate, or property rights advocate all resulted in moderate correlations with trust in state agencies (r > 0.40) and small negative correlations with trust in federal agencies (r = -0.11 to -0.14). These results suggest that as the context becomes richer, trust becomes more nuanced between the agencies, but also perhaps more entrenched with identity. Future work might consider how trust in an agency crystallizes and correlates with identity, as this may be a hurdle for agencies to overcome.
09:50AM Break
2:30PM Refreshment Break

 
Organizers: David Fulton, USGS, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, St. Paul, MN; Howie Harshaw, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB; Rudy Schuster, USGS, Fort Collins, CO; David Cobb, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, NC
 

Symposium
Location: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Date: October 10, 2018 Time: 8:10 am - 5:00 pm