Breath of Clarity

Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management

Understanding the drivers of human behavior informs our understanding of how humans interact with the natural world. People act in accordance with their values. Therefore, studying values brings insight into human dimensions of wildlife. In the video, Ashley Dayer explained the purpose of her career is to bridge the gap between social scientists and biologists to impact bird conservation (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). For example, she explored reasons why some landowners teach environmental stewardship to their grandchildren while others do not (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). She wonders how a landowner’s past experience influences his decision to do so (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). Through gaining insight about the values that propel a landowner’s actions, humans can adjust their conservation planning to take into account actual value orientations. From there, conservationists can create programs and policies that collaborate with landowners by meeting them where they’re at. The information can also help conservationists use the correct verbiage in announcements to the public and avoid using any triggering speech (Krausman and Cain). Another example Dayer mentioned is a project she did studying private land issues in the Intermountain West in two focal wet meadow landscapes in Oregon and Wyoming (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). Landowners are struggling to maintain a ranching lifestyle that includes flood irrigating their hayfields that provide critical habitat for migrating Waterfowl and Shorebirds (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). They are bringing ranchers and the conservation community together through workshops in order to talk about how program and policies can better meet landowner needs (Dayer Human Dimensions Lab n.d.). Dayer concludes by saying that it is not only important to implement collaboration into conservation planning. It is also crucial to focus on understanding people in conservation. Insofar as landowner needs as being heard and met, they are more likely to cooperate with conservation efforts. In turn, there will be more saving of T&E wildlife.


Dayer Human Dimensions Lab, n.d. “What is HD?” Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Virginia Tech. Accessed October 11th, 2019.

Krausman, Paul R. and James W. Cain III, Eds. 2013 Wildlife Management and Conservation: Contemporary Principles and Practices. Wildlife Management and Conservation Series. Johns Hopkins Univerity Press.

Comment by Maggie Smith:

I think psychology and sociology plays such a huge role in conservation, so it’s very important that we understand these things! I do wonder what kind of experiences a person must have in order to consciously decide not to partake in conservation efforts as a landowner. Of course there are financial and technical aspects to consider, but when steps to help conservation do not cost the landowner anything or make them go out of their way, why wouldn’t they help?

Like you said, it is crucial to focus on understanding people in conservation. Like we are seeing with the lesser-prairie chicken case study, so much of endangered species habitats’ belong to private landowners. It is so important that we hear them out about what concerns they may have, so that every effort is made to make the most informed decision.

My Comment:

Hi Maggie,

Good question! The upbringing of some landowners may result in them not being accustomed to seek out incentive programs. They may not be conservation-minded due to the ways they were raised. Perhaps, they are set in their ways and enjoy implementing the same methods over and over again, even if they are not the most efficient strategies. That said, they would be going out of their way to participate in the conservation program. Great point in saying that so much critical habitat belongs to private landowners. Therefore, we must listen to the things they care about and create ideas for conservation programs that are aligned with what they want instead of incentivizing them to do things without hearing their input. Landowners need to be involved in the formation of conservation programming that they are designed to be the subjects of.

Comment by Eric Lanners:

I appreciate your discussion of Ashley Dayer and bird conservation. I want to add to your discussion the role that conservation in a city has in influencing conservation outside of the city. With the trend of people migrating to cities, it is estimated that people may lose their connection to nature. I read some studies that suggest that parks and green spaces will increasingly represent people’s first contact with nature. If people feel connected to their parks and greenspaces, it will positively influence conservation measures outside of the city. You mention how ranchers and the conservation come together in workshops; I have wondered if the same concept can be applied to city policymakers and their residents.

My Comment:

Hi Eric,

I agree that people living in cities is not conducive to them connecting with nature. I also agree that parks and green spaces are useful in helping people living in cities connect with nature. Although, I wonder whether people in cities would still prioritize environmental issues in policy when they may still see other matters as more pressing. It brings into question whether connecting with nature through city green spaces is powerful enough to actually influence policymaking. Also, I found a paper that brings gentrification into the mix. The authors explained while access and exposure to green spaces has been shown to be beneficial for the health of urban residents, interventions focused on augmenting such access may also catalyze gentrification processes (Cole et al. 2017). They assert greening can only be fully understood relative to the social and political environments in which inequities persist (Cole et al. 2017). Additionally, they explore who benefits in the short and long term from greening interventions in lower income or minority neighborhoods undergoing processes of revitalization (Cole et al. 2017).


Cole, Helen, Melissa Lamarca, James Connolly, and Isabelle Anguelovski. 2017. “Are green cities healthy and equitable? Unpacking the relationship between health, green space and gentrification.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 71(11): 1118-1121.

Comment by Eric Lanners:

Hi Mary,

I am glad you brought up gentrification, and I agree with the Cole et al. study’s conclusions. There are theories out there that state that if a neighborhood greens or becomes less polluted, it will become more attractive. If more people want to live there, it will drive up rent and property prices, forcing people who cannot afford to live in the neighborhood out. This happened in Seattle (where I live) over the last decade due to the city’s tech boom. The city recognized this and tried to undo these environmental justice concerns, but it is slow going.