Identifier

etd-01212009-142106

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Coastal Louisiana marshes are eroding at a rate equivalent to one football field every thirty minutes. It is vital to understand the perceptions of the American public regarding this issue. I conducted a self-administered mail survey during the spring of 2006. The survey was sent to 4,500 residents living in the Mississippi River Valley. The survey was used to identify respondents environmental value orientations, assess respondents attitudes with regards to support for restoration funding for Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and to determine if outside moderating effects occurred to make respondents with specific value orientations (Anthropocentric or Biocentric) more likely to support restoration funding. The moderating effects examined in this study included knowledge of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, respondents gender, and respondents level of education. Respondents in this study expressed positive attitudes toward coastal wetland protection. Value orientation had a significant contribution to perceptions of federal funding for coastal restoration. Biocentric individuals are more than four times as likely to support increased funding for coastal restoration. Knowledge and understanding of the coastal wetlands appeared to be lacking among respondent. Biocentric respondents with low knowledge scores were twice as likely to support restoration as Anthropocentric respondents with low knowledge scores. Individuals with a high score on the knowledge scale were more likely to state that current funding levels were too low regardless of value orientation. Biocentric Individuals with low knowledge scores exhibited support for funding. This positive support was amplified with increased knowledge. Anthropocentric individuals with low knowledge scores exhibited negative support for funding. The direction of support was reversed with increased knowledge. Biocentric (66.9%) and Anthropocentric (45.8%) males were more likely to support funding than Biocentric (57.9%) and Anthropocentric females (45.8%). I also found that as level of education increased, from less than high school to individuals with a graduate/professional degree, the likelihood to support restoration also increased for Biocentric individuals. This study suggests that managers need to understand how value orientations are contributing to stakeholder opposition or support for restoration programs. It also provides evidence for the importance of education and outreach programs.

Date

2009

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Miller, Craig A

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