Date of Award

8-2004

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Kathleen P. Bell

Second Committee Member

Kevin Boyle

Third Committee Member

Mario Teisl

Abstract

This research explores the role of public awareness in managing the invasive forest insect, hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). HWA, the single greatest threat to eastern hemlock resources in the U.S., is spreading rapidly across residential and forested landscapes. As forest managers strive to minimize the current and potential future impacts of this invasion, the demand for information to support management decisions increases. Understanding public awareness of HWA and its role in private household control decisions may help to improve the overall effectiveness of control efforts by informing information dissemination strategies to increase public awareness and guiding the prioritization of HWA control efforts. Responses to a pilot web survey, developed specifically to collect information about household knowledge and response to HWA, serve as the primary data for this research. Economic analysis of these survey data reveals a systematic relationship between household characteristics and awareness levels of HWA and results suggest that awareness has a significant influence on household control decisions.

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