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Effects of Knowledge of an Endangered Species on Recreationists’ Attitudes and Stated Behaviors and the Significance of Management Compliance for Ohlone Tiger Beetle Conservation

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Abstract

Recreation is a leading cause of species decline on public lands, yet sometimes it can be used as a tool for conservation. Engagement in recreational activities, such as hiking and biking, in endangered species habitats may even enhance public support for conservation efforts. We used the case of the endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone) to investigate the effect of biking and hiking on the beetle's behavior and the role of recreationists’ knowledge of and attitudes toward Ohlone tiger beetle in conservation of the species. In Inclusion Area A on the University of California Santa Cruz (U.S.A.) campus, adult Ohlone tiger beetles mate and forage in areas with bare ground, particularly on recreational trails; however, recreation disrupts these activities. We tested the effect of recreation on Ohlone tiger beetles by observing beetle behavior on trails as people walked and road bikes at slow and fast speed and on trails with no recreation. We also surveyed recreationists to investigate how their knowledge of the beetle affected their attitudes toward conservation of the beetle and stated compliance with regulations aimed at beetle conservation. Fast cycling caused the beetles to fly off the trail more often and to fly farther than slow cycling or hiking. Slow cycling and hiking did not differ in their effect on the number of times and distance the beetles flew off the trail. Recreationists’ knowledge of the beetle led to increased stated compliance with regulations, and this stated compliance is likely to have tangible conservation outcomes for the beetle. Our results suggest management and education can mitigate the negative effect of recreation and promote conservation of endangered species.

Efectos del Conocimiento de una Especie en Peligro sobre las Actitudes y Comportamientos Declarados de los Recreacionistas y el Significado del Manejo de la Conformidad para la Conservación del Escarabajo Tigre de Ohlone
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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