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Factors determining awareness and knowledge of aquatic invasive species

Mark E. Eiswerth, Steven T. Yen and Gerrit van Kooten

Ecological Economics, 2011, vol. 70, issue 9, 1672-1679

Abstract: Public perceptions of invasive species may influence policies and programs initiated by public and private stakeholders. We investigate the determinants of the public's awareness and knowledge of invasive species as few studies have examined this relationship. We focus on aquatic invasive species (AIS) and employ survey data from property owners in a lake district. A major contribution is that we estimate a mixed trivariate binary-ordered probit regression model that accommodates correlations among unobserved characteristics, produces statistically more efficient estimates, and allows a more proper investigation of the probability of knowledge conditional on awareness. Our results provide insights for invasive species education and management programs. We find that individuals are more likely to be aware of AIS if they participate in water-based recreation, visit lakes outside their area, have a boat, belong to a lake association, or are college educated. This has a policy implication: Given high levels of AIS awareness by those most involved in activities around lakes and those with a higher education, it may be beneficial to target informational campaigns at those who do not display these characteristics, so that they can better make informed decisions about whether to support and expend money on invasive species management programs.

Keywords: Invasive; species; Nonnative; species; Awareness; Perception; Trivariate; ordered; probability; model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:9:p:1672-1679