Title page for ETD etd-01212009-142106

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Holloway, Meya Voorhies
URN etd-01212009-142106
Title Moderating Effects of Knowledge, Gender, and Education on the Relationship between Environmental Value Orientation and Support for Louisiana Coastal Restoration
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miller, Craig A Committee Chair
Kelso, William E Committee Member
Lapeyre, Megan K Grein Committee Member
Nyman, John Andrew Committee Member
  • environmental knowledge
  • coastal restoration
  • demographics
  • cognitive hierarchy
  • environmental attitudes
Date of Defense 2008-11-03
Availability unrestricted
Coastal Louisiana marshes are eroding at a rate equivalent to one football field every thirty minutes. It is vital to understand the perceptions of the American public regarding this issue. I conducted a self-administered mail survey during the spring of 2006. The survey was sent to 4,500 residents living in the Mississippi River Valley. The survey was used to identify respondents environmental value orientations, assess respondents attitudes with regards to support for restoration funding for Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and to determine if outside moderating effects occurred to make respondents with specific value orientations (Anthropocentric or Biocentric) more likely to support restoration funding. The moderating effects examined in this study included knowledge of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, respondents gender, and respondents level of education. Respondents in this study expressed positive attitudes toward coastal wetland protection. Value orientation had a significant contribution to perceptions of federal funding for coastal restoration. Biocentric individuals are more than four times as likely to support increased funding for coastal restoration. Knowledge and understanding of the coastal wetlands appeared to be lacking among respondent. Biocentric respondents with low knowledge scores were twice as likely to support restoration as Anthropocentric respondents with low knowledge scores.

Individuals with a high score on the knowledge scale were more likely to state that current funding levels were too low regardless of value orientation. Biocentric Individuals with low knowledge scores exhibited support for funding. This positive support was amplified with increased knowledge. Anthropocentric individuals with low knowledge scores exhibited negative support for funding. The direction of support was reversed with increased knowledge.

Biocentric (66.9%) and Anthropocentric (45.8%) males were more likely to support funding than Biocentric (57.9%) and Anthropocentric females (45.8%). I also found that as level of education increased, from less than high school to individuals with a graduate/professional degree, the likelihood to support restoration also increased for Biocentric individuals. This study suggests that managers need to understand how value orientations are contributing to stakeholder opposition or support for restoration programs. It also provides evidence for the importance of education and outreach programs.

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