This new paper has been a little while coming. The survey that we ran in relation to the Wood Turtle Strides program back in Spring 2017 was designed to help us understand whether introducing incentives for conservation into Nova Scotia would have any impact on motivations to do conservation. Already, many farmers in the region voice pretty strong support of biodiversity, using a discourse of ‘balance’. I wondered: if we start paying people to do it, will their more intrinsic motivations get ‘crowded out’? The size of the participant list involved in the program made this hard to answer definitively, but it certainly didn’t seem likely to crowd out conservation motivations for their neighbours to learn about the payments. That first paper came out last year in The Canadian Geographer.
Today, a new paper is out in Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Beyond intrinsic: a call to combine scales on motivation and environmental values in wildlife and farmland conservation research, that emerged from a bit of a surprise in that data. The statements we used to measure motivation for carrying out riparian management were based on a well-used scale, but we discovered whenever we used the word ‘wildlife’, responses correlated strongly together. Then-postdoc Wes Tourangeau took this as a challenge and developed a theoretical recommendation about how to explore motivations in such situations, arguing that motivations are entangled with environmental values such as ecocentrism and thus both should be tested.