Public lakes, private lakeshore: Modeling protection of native aquatic plants

Environmental Management
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Abstract

Protection of native aquatic plants is an important proenvironmental behavior, because plant loss coupled with nutrient loading can produce changes in lake ecosystems. Removal of aquatic plants by lakeshore property owners is a diffuse behavior that may lead to cumulative impacts on lake ecosystems. This class of behavior is challenging to manage because collective impacts are not obvious to the actors. This paper distinguishes positive and negative beliefs about aquatic plants, in models derived from norm activation theory (Schwartz, Adv Exp Soc Psychol 10:221–279, 1977) and the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein and Ajzen, Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: an introduction to theory and research, Addison-Wesley, Boston 1975), to examine protection of native aquatic plants by Minnesota lakeshore property owners. We clarify how positive and negative evaluations of native aquatic plants affect protection or removal of these plants. Results are based on a mail survey (n = 3,115). Results suggest that positive evaluations of aquatic plants (i.e., as valuable to lake ecology) may not connect with the global attitudes and behavioral intentions that direct plant protection or removal. Lakeshore property owners’ behavior related to aquatic plants may be driven more by tangible personal benefits derived from accessible, carefully managed lakeshore than intentional action taken to sustain lake ecosystems. The limited connection of positive evaluations of aquatic plants to global attitudes and behavioral intentions may reflect either lack of knowledge of what actions are needed to protect lake health and/or unwillingness to lose perceived benefits derived from lakeshore property.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Public lakes, private lakeshore: Modeling protection of native aquatic plants
Series title Environmental Management
DOI 10.1007/s00267-013-0054-4
Volume 52
Issue 1
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 13 p.
First page 99
Last page 112
Country United States
State Minnesota