Does proximity to wetlands matter? A landscape-level analysis of the influence of local wetlands on the public’s concern for ecosystem services and conservation involvement
The success of landscape-level conservation depends on public support and an understanding of public opinion. However, perceptions of wetlands’ importance may differ based on proximity to a wetland. This study used a mail-out survey across the entire U.S. (n=1,030) to investigate the public’s knowledge of local wetlands, visitation to wetlands, concern over losing ecosystem services provided by wetlands, and involvement in wetlands conservation. Regression models were run to explore the impact of proximity to the nearest wetland on wetlands visitation, concern, and conservation involvement. Additionally, sociodemographics and outdoor recreation participation were tested as predictors. While proximity to wetlands did impact knowledge of wetlands in the local area and wetlands visitation, it was not directly a significant predictor of concern for wetlands ecosystem services or conservation involvement. However, wetlands visitation did increase concern for ecosystem services and conservation involvement. Furthermore, participation in birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and fishing were correlated with higher concern for ecosystems services provided by wetlands and involvement in wetlands/waterfowl conservation. Results suggest that fostering awareness of wetlands, encouraging visitation, and promoting outdoor recreation opportunities may increase support for wetlands regardless of individuals’ proximity to wetlands.
|Does proximity to wetlands matter? A landscape-level analysis of the influence of local wetlands on the public’s concern for ecosystem services and conservation involvement
|Emily J. Wilkins, Wilson Sinclair, Holly M. Miller, Rudy M. Shuster
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Fort Collins Science Center