Capturing Community Context of Human Response to Forest Disturbance by Insects: A Multi-Method Assessment

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Human Ecology

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The socioeconomic and environmental features of local places (community context) influence the relationship between humans and their physical environment. In times of environmental disturbance, this community context is expected to influence human perceptual and behavioral responses. Residents from nine Colorado communities experiencing a large outbreak of mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) were surveyed in 2007. Multiple analytic methods including ordinary least squares regression and multilevel modeling techniques were used to evaluate a community-context conceptual model of factors influencing individual actions in response to forest disturbance by beetles. Results indicated that community biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics had important impacts on participation in beetle-related actions and influenced the relationships of individual-level variables in the conceptual model with beetle-related activities. Our findings have implications for natural resource management and policy related to forest disturbances, and for developing a methodology appropriate to measure the general community context of human-environment interactions.

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