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Picture of Public Trust and Conservation
Public Trust and Conservation

Title: Trust mediates conservation-related behaviors

Author: Winter, Patricia L.; Cvetkovich, George T.;

Date: 2010

Source: Ecopsychology 2(4): 211-219

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: In this article we explore the influence that a perceived connection between a natural resource management agency and individual citizens has upon conservation-related behaviors on public lands, offering an extension of psychology’s examination of environmental behaviors. Our emphasis is upon perceived value similarity and resulting trust between citizens and the USDA Forest Service, defined through the salient values similarity model. On the basis of a retrospective analysis of four studies examining public views on threatened and endangered species management on forest lands, we explore the hypothesis that trust will influence public engagement in conservation-related behaviors. We offer evidence suggesting that trust influences perceptions of messages the USDA Forest Service provides regarding risks to habitat, perception of recommended approaches to addressing environmental risk, acceptance of management actions to reduce environmental risks, and engagement of publics in conservation efforts. Findings show that trust is associated with a range of attitudes and behaviors related to conservation, all suggestive of forms of engagement in conservation. We conclude that the relationship between individuals and natural resource management agencies is an underexplored area of inquiry in conservation-related research, one that merits attention given the demonstrated value of trust. Conservation-related organizations, natural resource management agencies, and related entities can benefit from the findings by ensuring that their efforts address trust building and trust maintenance as a part of their ongoing interactions with publics and endeavors to foster conservation-related behaviors.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Winter, Patricia L.; Cvetkovich, George, T. 2010. Trust mediates conservation-related behaviors. Ecopsychology 2(4): 211-219.


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