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Multiple perspectives on biodiversity in the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon Public Deposited

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  • Biodiversity has become an important focus of ecological and wildlife research. However, the social aspects of biodiversity policy and regulations, specifically the public's perspectives and values about biodiversity, have not been adequately considered. This study examines the range of opinion about biodiversity of six groups that are potentially affected by biodiversity policy and management in western Oregon. The perceptions of the six groups were investigated through semi-structured interviews that focused on vertebrate biodiversity (species richness) in western Oregon as a surrogate for all biodiversity. The responses of interviewees from the six groups were combined in a Biodiversity Index, which measures the value of native, pre-European biodiversity for each group. Within the six groups, perceptions of native, pre- European biodiversity vary from slightly negative to very positive, with groups in order of: farmers, forest owners, hunters, Native Americans, ecologists, and environmentalists. Responses also indicate that groups with a lower Biodiversity Index tend to prefer biodiversity that is defined as species they value positively, whether introduced, extirpated, or otherwise. Groups with a higher Biodiversity Index tend to prefer native, pre-European biodiversity. It is important to consider these multiple perspectives when developing effective planning, policy, and management related to biodiversity. The results of this study also provide a useful starting point for further research on perspectives toward biodiversity and specific policy or management issues.
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