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Danford, Rachel

MS/PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation

Project:

Attitudes toward maintaining wildlife habitat on private property (specifically bird habitat in dead standing wood)

Contact:

rlevine@eco.umass.edu
Ag Engineering room 109

Faculty Advisor:

Paige Warren

Project Abstract:

The earth is experiencing rapid climate change and resource depletion due to human activities. Since humans both impact and are impacted by the changing environment, it is important to consider the human dimensions of wildlife management, including the motivations behind environmentally relevant decisions. Leaving standing dead wood on one’s property can provide habitat for many wildlife species. Maintaining habitat and attracting wildlife in urban and suburban areas can have emotional, social, health, and economic benefits for humans. However, landowners must also weigh the possibility that a standing dead tree may fall, causing damage to property or causing human injury. Aesthetics, property value, social norms, and liability may also come into play when making decisions about maintaining dead wood. My project will assess how landowners rank competing priorities when making environmentally relevant decisions and whether knowledge of the environmental value of an action can affect a landowner’s decision to act in a pro-environmental way. This project will provide a model for addressing similar kinds of trade-offs in residential land management decisions, such as maintaining shrubbery in fire-prone areas and promoting wildlife that may be a vector for human diseases.

Updated: March 7, 2013