Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

James A. Burchfield

Commitee Members

Jill M. Belsky, Rodney L. Brod, Michael E Patterson, Daniel R. Williams


OHV, Place, Public Lands, Travel Planning, Values, Wildland


University of Montana


Public land managers must consider a broad range of information to develop effective and equitable plans for addressing contentious management issues. Appropriately designed social science research may contribute to better understanding of public interests regarding resource use, thus reducing conflict and contributing to cooperative solutions. This dissertation describes a social science methodology for developing understanding of human / place bonds using indicators of human expression of behaviors, beliefs, and emotions. The dissertation develops the concept of human / place bonds with a goal to better reflect the publics' views and desires for management of public lands. The purpose of the human / place bond segmentation research approach developed in this dissertation is to provide information that may improve consideration of these ties to place in contentious planning decisions.

The research approach focuses on a combination of on-site activity participation, assigned values, and emotional attachment to place to understand human / place bonds. These measures are often considered in recreation management studies, but this methodology goes further in simultaneously considering these three types of indicators of human / place bonds to develop understanding about the public's views on management. In both case studies presented here segmentation of local communities based on multiple components of their human / place bonds identifies groups that statistically differ in their views about planning decisions on local public lands. This research presents evidence suggesting this technique may help improve understanding of attitudes about management of public lands. The dissertation also presents evidence that the human / place bond research approach can be efficiently applied and is flexible in design.

The understanding gained from this process may ultimately bring stakeholders together to increase dialog and develop cooperative solutions. In this way the human / place bond research approach may help to influence policy aimed at resolving conflict among stakeholders in contested public wildland management decisions.



© Copyright 2008 Neal A. Christensen