Title page for ETD etd-02082002-174607

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lafon, Nelson Wade
Author's Email Address nlafon@vt.edu
URN etd-02082002-174607
Title Evolution of stakeholder knowledge, attitudes, and opinions throughout a participative process to develop a management plan for black bears in Virginia
Degree Master of Science
Department Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
McMullin, Steve L. Committee Chair
Parkhurst, James A. Committee Member
Steffen, David E. Committee Member
Vaughan, Michael R. Committee Member
  • participation
  • constituents
  • planning
  • decision
  • mediated involvement
  • advisory committee
  • values
Date of Defense 2002-02-01
Availability unrestricted
Wildlife management requires understanding resources and involving stakeholders. The process Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Tech used to develop a black bear (Ursus americanus) management plan during 1999-2001 provided me with opportunities to understand diverse stakeholders and examine influences of participation on stakeholder knowledge, attitudes, and opinions concerning bear management. I used focus groups (with 5 key stakeholder groups), pre- and post-planning surveys, and interviews. I surveyed VDGIF biologists and managers (N = 21), members of a stakeholders advisory committee (N = 15), and members of 3 constituent groups representing bear hunters (N = 459), beekeepers (N = 442), and environmental interests (N = 500). I interviewed advisory committee members to validate survey results and evaluate the bear management plan.

Participation apparently improved constituents’ knowledge about bear management and their image of VDGIF bear management, and increased their support for controversial management options (e.g., lethal methods), but did not affect their opinions about bear hunting. Participation apparently had little effect on VDGIF staff opinions about bear management. Knowledge varied widely among constituent organizations. Bear hunting continues to be one of the most central, yet divisive, bear management issues in Virginia. Advisory committee members and VDGIF staff expressed satisfaction with the bear management plan and the planning process. Recommendations for wildlife decision-making processes include: balance science and public values in management, use multiple public involvement techniques, establish collaborative forums among stakeholders, reach out to all stakeholders, and nurture relationships with constituents during implementation.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  lafon-nw.pdf 475.66 Kb 00:02:12 00:01:07 00:00:59 00:00:29 00:00:02

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