PERCEPTIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONALS CONCERNING BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Open Access
Author:
Cassidy, Katherine
Graduate Program:
Agricultural and Extension Education
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
None
Committee Members:
  • Thomas Henry Bruening, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • perceptions
  • environmental professionals
  • biological control
Abstract:
This study sought to identify the current level of knowledge environmental professionals have concerning biological controls. It also seeks to assess the need for more knowledge in these areas, as well as the sources this population considers most useful and accurate. It also addresses the risk perceptions of the population regarding biological control, barriers to obtaining more information, support for educational initiatives, and general demographics. The respondents consisted of three hundred twenty three individuals (all members of the Allegheny chapter of the Society of American Foresters), primarily male foresters who had worked in a rural area for more than sixteen years. The respondents indicated that the sources they utilized the most and found to be the most accurate were traditional, non-electronic sources such as research publications. The respondents supported biological control as a management method, but still had some concerns about the risk and practicality of implementation. The general attitude of this population concerning “hot topic” issues in the environment was very different than that of the general public. The public as a whole was more concerned about topics such as global warming, the extinction of plant and animal species, and pollution. Philosophical support for educational initiatives is very strong, but financial support is lacking. There are some barriers that prevent environmental professionals from obtaining more information about biological control, but none that are insurmountable. Since these barriers exist for those in the environmental field, overcoming these obstacles can lead to better education transferred to the general public.