Date of this Version
Kubicek, E. (2016). An Investigation into Factors Influencing Attitude Toward a Wildlife Corridor (Masters Thesis).
Habitat fragmentation poses a serious threat to biodiversity in eastern Nebraska. Today, over 98% of Nebraska’s tall-grass prairie has been lost and what remains exists mostly as remnants less than 80 acres in size. The Prairie Corridor on Haines Branch will be one of the first human-made wildlife corridors in eastern Nebraska with expansion of prairie habitat as one of its main goals. Although still in the planning stages, the Prairie Corridor is a rare opportunity to explore public attitude toward a conservation-related program prior to its official launch. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential relationship between attitude toward a wildlife corridor, connection to nature, environmental values, and norms, thus providing some insight into the general willingness to support conservation-related programs such as wildlife corridors. Park visitors and residents currently living near an existing wildlife corridor were asked to complete a survey measuring attitudes, connection to nature, environmental values and norms. In total, 152 park visitors and 272 residents completed the survey. Overall, park visitors had a significantly higher attitude toward a wildlife corridor than did residents. In addition, Pearson correlations showed that connection to nature and attitude toward a wildlife corridor were significantly correlated. Altruistic environmental values, biospheric environmental values and personal and social norms were also significantly correlated with attitude toward a wildlife corridor. Multiple regression analysis was used to test if connection to nature, environmental values, norms or demographics significantly predict attitude toward a wildlife corridor for all participants. The results of the analysis indicated these predictors explained 41.4% of the variance. Personal norms significantly predicted attitudes toward a wildlife corridor, as did biospheric environmental values. In addition, biospheric environmental values were identified as a significant predictor among rural residents living near an existing wildlife corridor, suggesting this population (which most closely resembles the targeted population for the Prairie Corridor) would be more likely to favor participating in something they perceive as beneficial to the environment. Therefore, the results of this study suggest further research regarding attitude toward a wildlife corridor is needed.
Advisor: Mark E. Burbach