Forest owners in Florida are often natural advocates of wildlife conservation. Unfortunately, some landowners choose to remain silent about imperiled species on their lands, which challenges government efforts to track species recovery. It is often assumed that landowner resistance towards wildlife regulations is economic in nature. However, when motivations for certain management behaviors are not economic in nature, the effectiveness of governmental regulations and incentives are not well understood. This paper is the first to investigate the economic and intrinsic motivations of family forest owners to protect imperiled wildlife species by defining landownership as a cultural ecosystem service, giving rise to personal identity benefits. We used a choice experiment format and Likert scale questions to characterize the personal identity constructs of family forest owners and their response to wildlife policies. We found many family forest owners are skeptical of government involvement, despite offers of a cost-share and a regulatory assurance. We conclude that when costs are low, or not well understood, forest owners’ are more often motivated by the cultural values that uphold their personal identity constructs. Key in explaining changes in forest owner welfare was the importance placed on autonomy in making management decisions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Economics and Econometrics