In the United States, natural resources are held in trust for the American people and future generations. Because managers make decisions on behalf of the public, this necessitates an understanding of their preferences, values, and opinions towards the resources being held in trust for them; understanding stakeholder groups helps managers make better decisions on their behalf. This presentation addresses two conceptually related but diverse topics in the realm of natural resource management pertaining to (1) the Risk Information Seeking and Processing behaviors of northwest Minnesota deer hunters after bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) was detected in the local whitetail deer population, and (2) farmers' attitudes towards and motivations for participation in federal conservation programs beneficial to wildlife. The first of these projects found that attitudes exerted the greatest influence on hunters' information seeking behaviors towards bovine tuberculosis in a model that included individual characteristics, personal impacts, trust in the DNR, norms, and information sufficiency. The research on farmers' beliefs about enrollment in conversation programs suggested that a model including knowledge, community, and behavioral obligation dimensions drawn from Leopold's Land Ethic explained 54% of the variance in farmers' perceived environmental responsibilities. Although these studies focus on unrelated topics, they concern the human dimensions of natural resource management, address current issues faced by managers and decision makers, and are theory directed research. Ultimately the information gained through these projects will aid in the development of outreach efforts and design of conservation programs, as well as contribute to cumulative knowledge to better understand social psychological theory applied to resource management.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. August 2015. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisor: David Fulton. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 115 pages.
Applying Theory To Management: Assessing the Practicality of Leopold's Land Ethic and the Risk Information and Processing (RISP) Model for Wildlife Management.
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