TIDWELL, LEITH* and MARK BRUNSON. Department of Forest Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84321. - Community-based management of invasive plants: applying social research and education to an ecological problem.
The Southwest Rangeland Invasive Plants Initiative, or SRIPI, is a
multi-part outreach and research project that will promote and
evaluate low-cost, community-based approaches to the management of
invasive plants. SRIPI will use a "wildfire" model of
invasive species management focusing on prevention, early detection,
and eradication. As part of SRIPI survey research will be conducted to
assess citizens' knowledge, attitudes, and willingness to participate
in weed management. This research will help to identify the specific
information needs of extension audiences. Concurrent studies will
examine the organizational dynamics of community-based weed management
and analyze economic costs and benefits of the community approach.
Research will use a social-psychological approach to identifying
factors that will facilitate or constrain efforts to control invasive
plants. A self-administered mail-back survey is to be completed by
residents in eight non-metropolitan counties in the desert southwest.
The survey will measure personal and land ownership characteristics,
plant ecology knowledge, impacts and effectiveness of control efforts,
and effectiveness of citizen-based stewardship. It will also ascertain
attitudes towards management practices, assessment of peers'
attitudes, willingness to support or take part in control efforts, and
preferences towards and use of alternative education methods.
Key words: attitudes, environment, volunteerism, weed management