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Social variables in wetland restoration: the role of values, beliefs, and norms in conservation behaviour Open Access


Other title
social norms
environmental behaviour
wetland conservation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cyr, Kaitlyn J
Supervisor and department
Parkins, John (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Boxall, Peter (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Davidson, Debra (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Johnson, Matt (Human Ecology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Risk and Community Resilience
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Science
Degree level
The Canadian Prairie Provinces are home to an extensive area of North America’s wetlands. However, since settlement these important ecosystems have been continuously drained to make way for farmland, urban construction, and other human development. The development of new wetland management policies has created the opportunity to test market-mechanisms, such as incentive programs, as a tool for wetland restoration. Social factors impacting participation in these programs are relatively unstudied. Using a sample of rural landowners across Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, this study explores the predictors of participation behaviour, investigating specific social factors related to landownership, wetland restoration, and environmental values. Drawing on the value-belief-norm (VBN) theory we are particularly interested in the role of environmental beliefs, social norms on wetland drainage, and landowner values in the decision to participate in an incentive conservation program. We used adapted scales to measure the VBN constructs in the context of wetland restoration on productive land to focus on particular behavioural variables for rural landowners. Our results indicate that both personal and social norms are strong predictors of participation, and that values, beliefs, and norms are interrelated social constructs. The paper concludes with policy considerations that attempt to respond to specific social and cultural factors in the design of environmental conservation programs.
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