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Measuring community values for nature: overview of a research project


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Winter, C and Lockwood, M (2002) Measuring community values for nature: overview of a research project. Project Report. Johnstone Centre, Albury, NSW.

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The project involves the design of a survey scale to measure values for natural areas: intrinsic, use, non-use and recreation. Focus groups in regional and metropolitan areas were conducted to identify the terminology and concepts people use with respect to natural areas. Literature in psychology, environmental philosophy and economics provided the definitions and theoretical background for the project. A total of 6000 surveys were sent out, comprising 4000 to the general public, 1000 to environmentalists and 1000 to farmers. A 55% response rate was achieved. Factor analysis identified 20 items which comprise the Natural Area Value Scale (NAVS). The NAVS can be used for large population samples to comprehensively measure natural area values. Intrinsic value can now be measured in a way that is comparable with use and non-use values. We have also demonstrated that the NAVS produces valid results across different populations and different environments. This provides decision-makers with more reliable and comprehensive information about how people value natural areas. People can be grouped according to scores for the values they held, and the relative importance they gave to each value. Cluster analysis identified five clusters with similar characteristics across the three population samples: Traditional, Pro-use, Moderate, Green Recreationist and Pro-intrinsic. These groups define the different combinations of intrinsic, non-use, use and recreation values which people hold. We also show that it is not just the scores for the individual values that is important to decision making, but the way in which people rate the importance of the four values relative to each other. A Natural Area Preference Model (NAPM) was developed using structural equation modelling, and incorporating results from the factor analysis, cluster analysis and some information relating to environmental behaviour. The model also used results from two decision questions respondents had been asked to make with respect to the management of a natural area. The NAPM shows that all four value sub-scales and cluster membership, together with pro environment behavioural factors can be used to explain people’s environmental preferences and willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of the environment.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Publisher: Johnstone Centre
Additional Information: Copyright © Johnstone Centre, Charles Sturt University ISBN 186467 1068
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2009 03:55
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:56
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