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A.1-2: Progress in Understanding Stakeholder and Public Preferences for Waterfowl Hunting, Viewing, and Conservation

Presented by Nicholas Cole - Email: ncole@contractor.usgs.gov

Beginning in 2012, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan called for a fundamental shift in perspective by seeking to explicitly addressing the connections between ecological and social systems within broad scale management of waterfowl and wetlands in North America. Beginning with a series of workshops, hunters (n = 9,144), bird watchers (n = 36,908), and the public (n = 1,030) were surveyed in the U.S. and Canada with the objective of informing strategic approaches to strengthen connections to, and support for, waterfowl and wetland conservation. Each survey integrated theory-driven approaches assessing attitudes and behaviors, identity, social networks, and preferences for participation among outdoor recreation. Although the initial descriptive reporting is complete (https://nawmp.org/documents), analysis continues with the intention of testing the applied theoretical models and informing potential approaches to nurture positive wetland-related conservation behavior and grow participation in waterfowl-related activities like hunting and birdwatching. One such approach was the use of discrete-choice experiments, parameterized by the initial workshops, to quantify the preferences and expected behavior of hunters and birdwatchers. Though it is valid to consider hunters and birdwatchers as homogenous population segments, previous research suggests it is important to account for potential heterogeneity that may exist in the perceptions of those population segments. Latent class analysis allows for the within-group heterogeneity to be accounted for within the discrete-choice experiment, and for the most appropriate groupings to be identified. This deeper dive into the surveys provides results that are important to future strategic plans designed to meet the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and in turn, an example of how human dimensions information can be successfully applied within a wildlife management.
Session: Assessing & Adapting HD Initiatives (Tuesday, August 27, 8:15 to 10:00)