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Title: Behavioral assumptions of conservation policy: conserving oak habitat on family-forest land in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

Author: Fischer, A. Paige; Bliss, John C.;

Date: 2008

Source: Conservation Biology. 22(2): 275-283

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Designing policies that harness the motivations of landowners is essential for conserving threatened habitats on private lands. Our goal was to understand how to apply ethnographic information about family-forest owners to the design of conservation policy for Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (U.S.A.). We examined owners' knowledge, beliefs, values, and socioeconomic contexts through indepth Individual and focus-group interviews to understand their motivations to conserve oak. We then used Schneider and Ingram's (1990) policy analysis framework to compare owners' motivations to the logic of policy. Owners had complex motivations for conserving oak. Despite this complexity, all five categories of policy that Schneider and Ingram described hold promise. Policies that use symbolism to inspire behavior and policies that build capacity can harness owners' stewardship ethics and moral obligations. Policies that offer tangible rewards can build on owners' utilitarian motives. Policies that permit and prohibit behavior can tap owners' concerns about rule violations. Policies that promote voluntary, collaborative efforts can accommodate owners' need for autonomy and flexibility.

Keywords: Conservation policy, family forests, policy design, private land, threatened habitat

Publication Notes:

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Fischer, A. Paige; Bliss, John C. 2008. Behavioral assumptions of conservation policy: conserving oak habitat on family-forest land in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Conservation Biology. 22(2): 275-283


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