E-IPER Dissertation Defense: Rebecca Niemiec “The Multi-Scalar Drivers of Resident Invasive Species Control Action in Hawai’i”
Invasive species are a key driver of global environmental change and can threaten ecosystems, economies, and human health and well-being. To achieve landscape-scale reductions in the cover and abundance of invasive species, management efforts often must be expanded beyond conservation reserves to private lands. To manage invasive species across private lands, conservation organizations and government agencies must motivate landowners to control invaders individually on their property and collectively with their neighbors across property boundaries. This dissertation examines when, why, and how landowners can be motivated to engage in such individual and collective efforts to control invasive species in the Puna District of Hawai’i. I use remote sensing data, spatial analysis, cross-sectional surveys, interviews, and a field experiment to examine the multi-scalar factors influencing landowner invasive species control action and invasive species distributions on private lands. My findings suggest that policies and outreach approaches could potentially enhance resident individual and collective action for invasive species control by: 1) facilitating management efforts on absentee lands, 2) providing subsidies and assistance to low-income landowners and renters, 3) informing landowners about the risk posed by invasive species and how to effectively control these species, and 4) building perceptions of community norms and reciprocity regarding invasive species control through interventions based in social psychology theory. My dissertation highlights the need for integrating social and ecological data and theory to manage invasion across private lands.
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