Social comfort zones for transformative conservation decisions in a changing climate.

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From: Conservation Biology(Vol. 35, Issue 6)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 454 words

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Keywords: climate change; deliberation; forest biodiversity; pathway survey; biodiversidad del bosque; cambio climático; deliberación; encuesta de decisiones Abstract Novel management interventions intended to mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity are increasingly being considered by scientists and practitioners. However, resistance to more transformative interventions remains common across both specialist and lay communities and is generally assumed to be strongly entrenched. We used a decision-pathways survey of the public in Canada and the United States (n = 1490) to test two propositions relating to climate-motivated interventions for conservation: most public groups are uncomfortable with interventionist options for conserving biodiversity and given the strong values basis for preferences regarding biodiversity and natural systems more broadly, people are unlikely to change their minds. Our pathways design tested and retested levels of comfort with interventions for forest ecosystems at three different points in the survey. Comfort was reexamined given different nudges (including new information from trusted experts) and in reference to a particular species (bristlecone pine [Pinus longaeva]). In contrast with expectations of public unease, baseline levels of public comfort with climate interventions in forests was moderately high (46% comfortable) and increased further when respondents were given new information and the opportunity to change their choice after consideration of a particular species. People who were initially comfortable with interventions tended to remain so (79%), whereas 42% of those who were initially uncomfortable and 40% of those who were uncertain shifted to comfortable by the end of the survey. In short and across questions, comfort levels with interventions were high, and where discomfort or uncertainty existed, such positions did not appear to be strongly held. We argue that a new decision logic, one based on anthropogenic responsibility, is beginning to replace a default reluctance to intervene with nature. Article Note: Article impact statement Comfort with climate interventions for forest biodiversity is high and new information reverses uncertainty and discomfort. CAPTION(S): Additional information is available online in the Supporting Information section at the end of the online article. The authors are solely responsible for the content and functionality of these materials. Queries (other than absence of the material) should be directed to the corresponding author. Overview of respondents Supporting Information Table S1. Likert-scale statements on views about climate change and climate change risk index (aggregated average score of the seven statements). Means, standard deviations (SD), and sample size (n) are shown. Three statements were reverse coded. Table S2. Multinomial logistic regressions evaluating the association between independent demographic variables and changes in levels of comfort with intervening in forest ecosystems after new information about trusted experts. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) are shown. Byline: Shannon Hagerman, Terre Satterfield, Sara Nawaz, Guillaume Peterson St-Laurent, Robert Kozak, Robin Gregory

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A684188772