Understanding landowner intentions to create early successional forest habitat in the northeastern United States

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By: , and 

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Abstract

Early successional forest habitat (ESH) and associated wildlife species in the northeastern United States are in decline. One way to help create early successional forest conditions is engaging private forest landowners in even-aged forest management because their limited participation may have contributed to declines in ESH for wildlife species of high conservation concern. We applied the reasoned action approach from social psychology to predict intentions of landowners in the 13-county Southern Tier of New York State, USA, to conduct patch-cuts, which is a type of even-aged forest management. We tested the predictive ability of the model using data from a mail survey of landowners conducted from November 2010 to January 2011. Landowner intention to conduct patch-cuts was high (55% of respondents), with attitude being the strongest direct predictor of behavioral intention. Our results suggest that patch-cutting intentions are most likely expressed by landowners who think the behavior is good for their land and wildlife, believe in positive outcomes of land and wildlife management, belong to a game wildlife organization, and have conducted patch-cuts in the past. Strategies to engage more landowners in ESH management will have the highest likelihood of success if outreach efforts focus on influencing behavioral beliefs and subsequently attitudes, possibly working with game wildlife organizations to communicate a unified message for habitat conservation, including the importance of maintaining and creating ESH. Our results demonstrate the importance of social science research to increase the likelihood that conservation targets for declining wildlife species are met. Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Understanding landowner intentions to create early successional forest habitat in the northeastern United States
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
DOI 10.1002/wsb.613
Volume 40
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 10 p.
First page 59
Last page 68
Country United States
State New York
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N