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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.

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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

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Authors/Creators:Winter, C and Lockwood, M
Publisher: Johnstone Centre
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Copyright © Johnstone Centre, Charles Sturt University ISBN 186467 1068

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