Public support for species conservation policies : major determinants in the case of the Pacific salmon controversy Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vd66w3139

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  • The arduous task of finding a solution to the enduring salmon crisis calls for a non-trivial, comprehensive approach. Such a solution is likely to affect virtually everyone in the Pacific Northwest. Ensuring public understanding of and support for species restoration policies is especially important, because many of such policies involve making difficult trade-offs. This issue is especially relevant to the situation in Oregon where citizens are directly involved in environmental policy-making, thus, public support for salmon restoration options is a vital component of the policy process. This study was designed to identify the major factors influencing public support for salmon restoration policies, including policy-relevant knowledge, risk perception, ideological and attitudinal factors, as well as a sense of political efficacy and social trust. Key findings indicate that ideological and attitudinal factors are the most important predictors of public support for salmon restoration alternatives, such as removal of hydroelectric dams, limiting certain agricultural and forestry practices, elimination of hatcheries, and urban stream protection measures. Ideological and attitudinal variables have both direct and indirect impacts on policy support. In addition, higher levels of social trust and a sense of political efficacy also led to stronger support for salmon restoration policies. The results presented in this study suggest the need for a more holistic approach to understanding the sources and assessing the limits of public support for salmon restoration options. In general, both outreach and research activities should concentrate on overcoming the negative impacts of ideological and attitudinal cleavages and reconciling seemingly insurmountable differences in opinions on salmon policy. Providing additional knowledge should be tailored to the needs of the various constituencies and should be sensitive to a wide range of ideological stances and attitudinal positions.
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