Year of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

Society and Conservation

Committee Chair

Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf

Commitee Members

Dr. Laurie Yung, Dr. Justin Angle

Keywords

invasive control, collective action, public goods, common pool resources

Publisher

University of Montana

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Weeds reduce the biodiversity and productivity of agricultural systems, and are a problem both around the world, and in Montana. Weeds are challenging to control because their effective dispersal mechanisms enable cross-boundary colonization, and so managers must engage diverse groups of private landowners. Researchers have recognized weed control is a collective action problem, but there is little research quantifying the role of collective factors on an individual’s decision to control. To fully understand the motivations behind independent weed control, I initiated a study to quantitatively assess different types of landowners and their weed control behaviors, the relationship between collective interest variables and individual landowners’ willingness to engage in weed control behaviors. I identified a k-means cluster analysis as a way to segment the Montana landowner population, and the Collective Interest Model as a way to understand the influence of collective factors on an individual’s decision to control for weeds, while holding individual factors constant. I surveyed 4,500 Montana landowners, and analyzed results using descriptives and ordinarily least squares regression. I found five different groups of landowners, and that collective factors, such as an injunctive norm and the belief weeds are a cross boundary problem, were significantly correlated with willingness to engage in three different weed control behaviors. This suggests if weed control outreach explicitly promotes collective messages, it may be able to more effectively engage landowners. In addition, I believe that weed control has been mis-classified in the literature as a common pool resource problem, instead it should be considered a public good problem. I present reasoning that weeds are a public good problem and draw on solutions to public good problems generally and adapt them to weed control.

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© Copyright 2018 Alice Lubeck