Impact of Nature Experience on Willingness to Support Conservation

Abstract: We hypothesized that willingness to financially support conservation depends on one’s experience with nature. In order to test this hypothesis, we used a novel time-lagged correlation analysis to look at times series data concerning nature participation, and evaluate its relationship with future conservation support (measured as contributions to conservation NGOs). Our results suggest that the type and timing of nature experience may determine future conservation investment. Time spent hiking or backpacking is correlated with increased conservation contributions 11–12 years later. On the other hand, contributions are negatively correlated with past time spent on activities such as public lands visitation or fishing. Our results suggest that each hiker or backpacker translates to $200–$300 annually in future NGO contributions. We project that the recent decline in popularity of hiking and backpacking will negatively impact conservation NGO contributions from approximately 2010–2011 through at least 2018.

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Citation: Zaradic PA, Pergams ORW, Kareiva P (2009) The Impact of Nature Experience on Willingness to Support Conservation. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7367. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007367

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