COMPARING ATTITUDES ABOUT FORESTS BETWEEN YOUNG ADULTS IN
NORTH-CENTRAL FLORIDA AND THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
CHRISTOPHER JOHN FROST
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Christopher John Frost
This thesis is graciously dedicated to each student who took the time and effort to
participate in the study, either by filling out a questionnaire or being interviewed, or both,
and to those students who were not selected to participate but nonetheless fall within the
realm of the inferences made herein. It is my hope that I listened well and have done a
good job at accurately representing what they told me.
I would like to specifically dedicate this thesis to one boy whose name I don't
know, who exists only as a number in my data set, but whose passion for the animals of
the forest re-kindled my own desire to fight to protect what remains.
Misericordia Ante Omnia
I know that I cannot properly thank the many people without whom this project
would have surely failed. With luck, I will strike a balance between mentioning those who
ought be mentioned and drowning out the important contributions with sheer quantity.
This study could not have happened without those mentioned below. This study required
flexibility, not just on my part, but on the part of administrators, teachers, and students
both in Florida and Peru.
I am grateful to Martha Monroe, the chairperson of my committee. I am not the
easiest person to advise: headstrong, independent, focused, and determined.
Second, there are the unnamed people who were so kind to me in the streets of
Iquitos. It was an odd sight for many to see a gringo traversing streets not typically
frequented by tourists. Every single person was kind and friendly, if a bit curious. I am
attracted to the interstices of Iquitos because I encounter the most unique and interesting
people. This time not only were they interesting, they were also my guides.
During the Peruvian field work, I was greatly assisted by Ms. Rosario Garcias,
who was then a guide-in-training at Dr. Paul Beaver's Amazonia Expeditions lodge. She
stayed with me in the villages and her presence made my work much easier.
Words cannot describe the high esteem in which I hold Don Josias, Dofia Luzdina,
and their children. They were so wonderful to me, allowing me stay in their home and
experience their lives. I am envious of their compassion.
In Iquitos, the field work would not have been completed without the support of
the director at each school. I also thank the teachers for allowing the intrusions in their
classrooms, though they really did not have any say in the matter, and for that I felt bad.
The directors told them I was coming in and that was that.
Such was not the case in Florida, where I coordinated with both the principals and
the teachers. I am indebted to those principals who allowed the study in their schools and
the teachers who modified their class schedules to make room for me.
In terms of just plain, solid colleague support, I cannot thank Janice Easton
enough. She is too humble to accept many accolades, so this will be brief. I will always
remember our conversations in the E.E. building.
Half of the pictures used in the forest pile sort interview were taken by Alison
Bowers and Dr. Martha Monroe.
I am grateful to Norman Breuer and Gabriella Scollo for each translating the
survey from English to Spanish, and to Cotton Randall and Alyson Dagang for back-
translating the Spanish version.
I am also grateful to Karla Wesley and Dr. Jim Armstrong for performing content
validity of the attitude section of the survey instrument.
I am indebted to Susan Jacobson, Taylor Stein, Jim Armstrong, and Stephen
Kellert for giving me copies of their old surveys while I was learning the process of survey
construction and developing my own.
The Peruvian field work was funded with the generous support of the Tropical
Conservation and Development (TCD) Program at the University of Florida and Dr. Paul
Beaver, owner of Amazonia Expeditions. The TCD program awarded me a field research
grant, while Dr. Beaver arranged airfare and room and board at his lodge on the Tahuayo
Funding for my graduate studies was provided by a teaching assistantship through
the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. This funding was supplemented by the
Graduate Student Council, The School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Dr.
I am greatly indebted to those with whom I pilot tested the survey. First, my
colleagues in TCD and Forestry who first reviewed the survey were very helpful. The
classes of Brian Marchman, Jerry Steele, and Tim Anderson at P.K. Yonge Developmental
School saw the next version of the survey and also offered very helpful suggestions for its
improvement. Specifically, I would like to thank Emily Edison, Madeline Edison, and
Mallori Cain, each of whom spent close to three hours with me going over the survey
questions explaining exactly how they interpreted each question. Though tedious, I think
we had fun doing it.
I would also like to thank Dr. Wayne Smith, the director of the School of Forest
Resources and Conservation.
Finally, my gratitude and love go to my parents Meryll and Susan and my two best
friends Rachael and Karla for their unconditional support of all my wacky ideas.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ............................................ iv
LIST O F FIG U RE S ........................................ ....... xi
LIST O F TA B LE S ..................................... ........ xiii
ABSTRACT ............................................ ........ xv
1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................... .......... 1
Objective 1: Identify Perceptions of a Forest ................. .... 3
Objective 2: Develop Forest Attitude Domains ................ ... 3
Objective 3: Compare Peruvian and Floridian Attitudes about Forests ... 4
Objective 4: Determine the Influence of Other Variables on Attitudes
about F orests ......... .. ...... ... ...... ......... 5
Objective 5: Measure the Relationship between Perceived Forest
Renewability and Attitudes about Forests ............... .... 6
2 BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE ..................... 7
The Components and Relevance of Attitudes ................. ... 8
Measuring Environmental Concern ....................... 12
The New Environmental Paradigm .................... . 12
Measuring Actual Environmental Commitment with Verbal
C om m itm ent ........................... ......... 16
Environmental Justifications ........................ 17
Typologies of Values Toward Natural Environments ............. 19
Identifying the Value of Different Wildlands and their Resources . 19
Basic Human Values of Nature ........................... 20
Attitudes in the United States ................................. 24
Attitudes about Animals .......................... . 24
Attitudes about Forests ................................. 27
Measuring Attitudes in Other Countries ..................... 31
D developed N nations .................................... 31
D developing N nations ........ ............... ......... 33
Factors that Influence Environmental Attitudes ................ . 37
Cross-Cultural Comparisons ........................... . 41
C onclu sions ............................................. 43
3 SAMPLING METHODS ................... ................ 45
N orth-Central Florida ............................... . 45
The Administrative Permission Process ................. 47
Randomizing the Sample ................................ 48
The Contact Situations ................................. 48
Iquitos, P eru ...................................... . 49
Identifying the Sampling Frame ........................... 50
The Administrative Permission Process ................. 54
Randomizing the Sample ................................ 54
The Contact Situations ................................. 55
4 MEASUREMENT METHODS ............................... 57
Developing the Attitude Statements for the Survey Instrument ........ 58
C ontent V alidity ...................................... 58
R response B ias ......... ......... ......... ......... 59
Developing the Other Components of the Survey Instrument ......... 59
Forest B benefits .................... ......... .......... 60
Perceived Forest Renewability ...................... 61
Forest K now ledge ..................................... 61
Environmental Behaviors ................................ 62
Forest Characteristics .................................. 63
D em graphics ................................. . 63
Pilot Testing the Survey in Florida ............................. 64
First E valuation ................................ . 64
P ilot T ests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 6 5
Pilot Test Interview s ................................... 67
Translating the Survey ...................................... 67
Pilot Testing the Survey in Peru ............................... 71
Final R visions ...................... ......... ......... 72
Data Entry, Coding, and Analysis .............................. 72
5 DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS ......................... . 74
Sample Diversity . ............................... . 74
N on-Attitudinal Variables ............................. . 75
S ex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 7 5
G rade L evel ....................... ...... ......... 75
Time Spent in a Forest ................. ................ 75
Perceived Forest Renewability ...................... 77
Knowledge Score .................. .. ............... 77
Talking with Family or Friends about the Environment .......... 82
Ethnicity (Florida Only) ................................. 86
Urban/Rural (Florida Only) ............................. 86
Tropical Forest Experience (Florida Only) ............... . 88
Perceptions of Ecotourism (Peru Only) ................. . 88
School Type (Peru Only) ................................ 88
Multidimensional Scaling, Hierarchical Clustering, and Factor Analysis 88
Objective 1: Forest Perceptions through Forest Characteristics ........ 90
6 THE ATTITUDE DOMAINS ............................... 100
Kellert's 7-Domain Typology ................................ 100
The Factor Analysis Solution ................................ 104
Attitude Scale Construction ................................. 113
The Four Attitude Domains ................................. 113
The H SN D om ain ......................... .......... 113
The UD D om ain .......................... ......... 115
The M oralistic D om ain ................................ 115
The N egativistic Domain ............................... 116
Correlations Among the Four Attitude Domains .............. 117
7 R E SU L T S ................................. ......... 122
M easuring Experimenter Bias ........................... . 122
The Comparison Between Peruvian and Floridian Participants ....... 127
The Big Com prison .................................. 127
Comparing Different Subpopulations .................. 130
Important Local Variables Affecting Attitudes about Forests ........ 136
Floridian G roup ...................................... 137
Individual V ariables ............................... 137
Stepwise Linear Regression ..................... 152
Peruvian G roup ........................... ......... 154
Individual V ariables ............................... 154
Stepwise Linear Regression ..................... 168
Perceived Forest Renewability in Relation to Attitudes about Forests . 169
D iscu ssion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 1
8 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS ................ 178
General Conclusions from the Study Objectives ................ 178
Coexisting Attitude Domains ................................ 183
M ethodological Considerations .............................. 185
Lim stations ................ .... ............. ......... 185
Cross-Cultural Foundation of Forest Concern ................ 186
Directions for Future Research ............................... 187
Closing ....................................... ....... 192
APPENDIX A: THE FOREST PERCEPTION INTERVIEWS IN PERU ... 193
D efining a Forest ......................................... 194
M ethodology ..................................... . 196
Participant Recruitm ent .................................... 196
D ata A analysis ................................ ......... 198
R esu lts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 19 8
D iscu ssion ....................................... . 2 13
APPENDIX B: "FOREST" PHOTOGRAPHS USED FOR INTERVIEWS .. 219
APPENDIX C: ENGLISH VERSION OF THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT .. 232
APPENDIX D: SPANISH VERSION OF THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT .. 238
APPENDIX E: RESULTS OF STEPWISE REGRESSION ANALYSES ... 244
LIST OF REFERENCES .................................... . . 263
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................... 275
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 The Theory of Planned Behavior .................................. 11
3-1 Map of North Central Florida Highlighting the cities of Gainesville,
N ewberry, and Branford ..................................... 46
3-2 Map of Peru Highlighting the city of Iquitos ......................... 51
4-1 Model of the Dual Front-Back Translation Process .................. 69
5-1 Self-reported Time Spent in a Forest by Region ................... 78
5-2 Frequency of Responses to Perceived Renewability of Local Forests ....... 80
5-3 Number of Correct Knowledge Questions by Region ................. 84
5-4 Percent of Correct Responses to Individual Knowledge Questions ......... 85
5-5 Forest Characteristic Descriptions ............................. 92
5-6 MDS and HC analyses of Forest Characteristics for the Entire Sample ...... 95
5-7 MDS and HC analyses of Forest Characteristics in Florida ............. 97
5-8 MDS and HC analyses of Forest Characteristics in Peru ............... 98
6-1 Collapsing Kellert's Seven Domains into Four ................... 106
6-2 Alpha Reliability Scores for the Four Attitude Domains ................ 111
6-3 Theoretical Alpha Reliability for Scales with Different Numbers of Items ... 112
6-4 MDS model of the Attitude Statements in the Four Attitude Domains ..... 118
6-5 Hypothetical Demonstration of the Overlapping Nature of Attitude Domains 119
7-1 Measuring Experimenter Bias in the Younger Age Group .............. 124
7-2 Measuring Experimenter Bias in the Older Age Group . . . . . . 125
7-3 Forest Attitudes between Peruvian and Floridian Groups ............. 128
7-4 Forest Attitudes between Females in Peru and Florida ............... 132
7-5 Forest Attitudes between Males in Peru and Florida ................. 133
7-6 Forest Attitudes between 12 tol3-year-olds in Peru and Florida .......... 134
7-7 Forest Attitudes between 16 to 17-year-olds in Peru and Florida ......... 135
7-8 Forest Attitudes by Sex in Florida ................................ 141
7-9 Forest Attitudes by Urban/Rural in Florida .......................... 142
7-10 Forest Attitudes by Age Level in Florida ........................... 143
7-11 Forest Attitudes by Level of Knowledge in Florida ................. 145
7-12 Forest Attitudes by Ethnicity in Florida ............................ 146
7-13 Forest Attitudes by Time in a Forest in Florida ................... . 147
7-14 Forest Attitudes by Tropical Forest Experience in Florida ............ 149
7-15 Forest Attitudes by Perceived Forest Renewability in Florida ............ 150
7-16 Forest Attitudes by Talking with Family and Friends in Florida .......... 151
7-17 Forest Attitudes by Sex in Peru .................................. 158
7-18 Forest Attitudes by Age Level in Peru ............................. 159
7-19 Forest Attitudes by Time in a Forest in Peru ........................ 160
7-20 Forest Attitudes by Level of Knowledge in Peru . . . . . 162
7-21 Forest Attitudes by Perceived Forest Renewability in Peru . . . . . .... 163
7-22 Forest Attitudes by Talking with Family and Friends in Peru ............ 165
7-23 Forest Attitudes by Perceptions of Ecotourism in Peru . . . . . . 166
7-24 Forest Attitudes by School Type in Peru ........................... 167
7-25 Results of the Forest Renewability Question in Florida ............... 172
7-26 The Relationships of the Forest Attitudes with the Other Variables ....... 174
7-27 Stepwise Linear Regression Results ............................... 176
A-1 "Forest" Frequencies in Iquitos, Peru .............................. 201
A-2 "Not Forest" Frequencies in Iquitos, Peru .......................... 202
A-3 "Forest" Frequencies in Chino, Peru . . . ........... . . 203
A-4 "Not Forest" Frequencies in Chino, Peru ....................... 204
A-5 Multivariate Analysis of Forest Pile Sort in Iquitos, Peru . . . . . .... 207
A-6 Multivariate Analysis of Forest Pile Sort in Chino, Peru . . . . . . 208
A-7 "Forest" Characteristic Correlations ............................... 211
A-8 The Ideal Forest Photograph Selections ............................ 212
A-9 The Ideal Forest Characteristics for the Peru Study ................. 215
LIST OF TABLES
1-1 Kellert's Typology of Basic Attitudes About Animals .............. . ... 4
2-1 The New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale Questions .............. 15
2-2 Summary of Environmental Justification Categories ................ 18
2-3 Classification Systems for Environmental Values .................. 22
2-4 Kellert's Typology of Basic Values Modified for "Nature" ............... 23
2-5 Factors Influencing Environmental Attitudes ..................... 39
3-1 A List of the Sampling Frame of 14 Secondary Schools in Iquitos, Peru ..... 53
4-1 Number of Questions in the Final English and Spanish Surveys ........... 73
5-1 Basic Demographics for Florida and Peru Samples ................ . 76
5-2 Descriptive Analysis of Sex by Region .............................. 76
5-3 Descriptive Analysis of Age by Region ......................... 76
5-4 Descriptive Analysis of Self-Reported Time Spent in a Forest by Region . 79
5-5 Descriptive Analysis of Perceived Local Forest Renewability ......... ... 79
5-6 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Age in the Florida Sample .... 83
5-7 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Age in the Peruvian Sample ... 83
5-8 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Region ............... 83
5-9 Frequency Talking with Family or Friends about the Environment by Region 87
5-10 Descriptive Analysis of Urban/Rural by Age in Florida .............. . 87
5-11 Descriptive Analysis of the Forest Characteristic Question ........... ... 93
5-12 Factor Analysis of Survey Forest Characteristic Question ............. 94
6-1 Correlations between Moralistic, Scientific, Humanistic, and Naturalistic
Attitude Statements ........ ...... ...................... 101
6-2 Correlations between Dominionistic, Negativistic, and Utilitarian Attitude
Statem ents ........ ... ............. ....... ......... 102
6-3 Alpha Reliability of Kellert's Seven Attitude Domains ............. . 103
6-4 Factors 1 and 4 of the First Factor Analysis ..................... 105
6-5 Rotated Component Matrix and Reliability of Four-Factor Structure ...... 107
6-6 The Four Forest Attitude Domains ........................... 109
6-7 Attitude Statements of Factor Component 1: The HSN Domain ......... 114
6-8 Attitude Statements of Factor Component 2: The UD Domain ........... 114
6-9 Attitude Statements of Factor Component 3: The Moralistic Domain ...... 114
6-10 Attitude Statements of Factor Component 4: The Negativistic Domain .... 114
6-11 Correlations among the Forest Attitude Domains in Florida ............. 121
6-12 Correlations among the Forest Attitude Domains in Peru ........... ... 121
7-1 Experimenter Bias among 12 to 13-year-old Participants ............. 126
7-2 Experimenter Bias among 16 to 17-year-old Participants ............. 126
7-3 Forest Attitudes Between Peruvian and Floridian Groups ............ 126
7-4 Forest Attitudes of Females in Peru and Florida .................. . 131
7-5 Forest Attitudes of Males in Peru and Florida ................... . 131
7-6 Forest Attitudes of 12 to 13-year-olds in Peru and Florida .............. 131
7-7 Forest Attitudes of 16 to 17-year-olds in Peru and Florida .............. 131
7-8 Forest Attitudes by Sex in Florida ................................ 140
7-9 Forest Attitudes by Urban/Rural in Florida .................... . 140
7-10 Forest Attitudes by Age Level in Florida ........................... 140
7-11 Forest Attitudes by Level of Knowledge in Florida ................. 144
7-12 Forest Attitudes by Ethnicity in Florida ............................ 144
7-13 Forest Attitudes by Time in a Forest in Florida .................. 144
7-14 Forest Attitudes by Tropical Forest Experience in Florida ............ 148
7-15 Forest Attitudes by Perceived Forest Renewability in Florida ............ 148
7-16 Forest Attitudes by Talking with Family and Friends in Florida .......... 148
7-17 Forest Attitudes by Sex in Peru .................................. 157
7-18 Forest Attitudes by Age Level in Peru ....................... 157
7-19 Forest Attitudes by Time in a Forest in Peru .................... . 157
7-20 Forest Attitudes by Level of Knowledge in Peru . . . . . . 161
7-21 Forest Attitudes by Perceived Forest Renewability in Peru . . . . . .... 161
7-22 Forest Attitudes by Talking with Family and Friends in Peru ............ 164
7-23 Forest Attitudes by Perceptions of Ecotourism in Peru . . . . . . 164
7-24 Forest Attitudes by School Type in Peru . . . . . . 164
A-1 A Few Definitions of a "Forest" ........................... 195
A-2 Forest Photograph Frequencies for the Iquitos, Peru Group ............. 205
A-3 Forest Photograph Frequencies for the Chino, Rio Tahuayo, Peru Group ... 206
A-4 Forest Characteristic M atrix .................................... 214
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
COMPARING ATTITUDES ABOUT FORESTS BETWEEN YOUNG ADULTS IN
NORTH-CENTRAL FLORIDA AND THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
Christopher John Frost
Chairperson: Martha C. Monroe
Major Department: School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Forest cover is decreasing worldwide. Because peoples' attitudes influence their
behavior, understanding attitudes about forests is important for forest conservation. This
study explored the attitudes about forests of young adults in Iquitos, Peru and North-
Central Florida. The objectives were to explore the perception of the term "forest," to
create a typology of attitude domains, to compare the attitudes about forests between
Peruvians and Floridians, and to investigate other site-specific variables that might
influence the attitude domains. To test the hypothesis that Floridian young adults would
demonstrate attitudes that were more moralistic, naturalistic, humanistic, and less
utilitarian than the attitudes of Peruvian young adults, a written survey instrument was
designed and validated according to published protocols. One thousand two hundred
thirty-one young adults participated.
Four attitude domains, based on Kellert's typology of human values, were
identified. The "HSN" domain was defined as a combination of humanistic, scientific, and
naturalistic attitudes and represented emotional attachment to and curiosity about forests.
The "UD" domain was defined as a combination of utilitarian and dominionistic attitudes
and represented mastery, control, and use of forests. The Moralistic domain reflected the
conferring of ethical standing to forest flora and fauna. The Negativistic domain
represented fear or aversion to forests.
The attitude profiles of the Floridian and Peruvian participants were unexpectedly
similar. The Moralistic attitude domain was the strongest in both samples, followed by the
HSN, UD, and Negativistic domains respectively. In support of the hypothesis, Peruvians
held significantly higher UD attitudes than Floridians. However, contrary to the
hypothesis, Peruvians also held significantly higher HSN and Negativistic attitudes. Also,
the attitudes of mastery and control (the UD domain) and attitudes of understanding and
involvement (the HSN domain) were negatively correlated in the Floridian group but not
in the Peruvian group.
Multiple variables influenced the attitude domains differently in the Peruvian and
Floridian groups. In Florida, all four attitude domains were influenced by the participant's
sex and by talking with others about the environment. In Peru, age was the only variable
that influenced all four domains.
There were also consistent variable relationships in Peru and Florida. The HSN
domain increased with time spent in a forest, talking with others about the environment,
and among females. The UD domain increased as a forest was considered renewable.
The Negativistic domain decreased with age, time spent in a forest, and knowledge.
This research informs education and communication program development in
Florida and Peru by better understanding the attitudes of the local young adults.
Forests are the fountain of life for all the species that live on the earth.
Peruvian 16-year-old male
I think forest are important because they provide places for animals to live and because I feel that
they are an important resource for life on earth.
Floridian 12-year-old female
Forests are important in many ways. They provide environmental services, habitat
and refugia for animals, wood and non-timber products, recreational opportunities, and
spiritual benefits (Rolston and Coufal 1991). According to the FAO (1999), worldwide
forest cover decreased by an estimated 180 million hectares between 1980 and 1995.
While the rate of deforestation may be slowing, the global annual loss of forests is high
(FAO 1999). In light of these statistics, efforts to conserve forests have included
Environmental education is defined as "a process of developing a world population
that is aware of and concerned about the total environment and its associated problems,
and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivation and commitment to work
individually and collectively toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of
new ones" (UNESCO 1978). Supportive attitudes are an important element of an
environmentally aware citizenry according to this definition. Understanding public
attitudes about the environment is one component of conservation. There is evidence that
independent reasoning begins to form during adolescence (Muuss 1982, Piaget 1965);
understanding young people's forest attitudes provides a framework for the future of
forest conservation, and informs future efforts in forest education.
Forest degradation occurs for different reasons in different parts of the world,
sometimes at the hands of local people and other times in spite of their opposition (FAO
1999). As cultures develop differently, specific attitudes about the natural world may
differ. Identifying the differences between groups will strengthen conservation efforts by
providing information from which to create site-specific conservation programs that
emphasize issues of local concern and are relevant to unique cultural and environmental
paradigms. While environmental attitudes have been studied in the United States (Dunlap
and Van Liere 1978, Thompson and Gasteiger 1985) and abroad (Furman 1998, Roth and
Perez 1989), studies comparing attitudes between developed and developing countries
have only recently been reported (e.g., Schultz and Zelozny 1998).
This leads to the question: to what extent and in what ways will attitudes about
forests be common, or unique, between young adults of a developing nation and a
developed one, and what implications might this have for international conservation efforts
using environmental education as the medium?
The purpose of this research was to measure the forest attitudes of young adults in
North Central Florida and the Peruvian Amazon, and to investigate the factors that
influence those attitudes. Chapter 2 discusses the literature relevant to the study.
Chapters 3 and 4 identify the sampling frames and discuss the development of the survey
instrument. Chapter 5 presents a descriptive analysis of the non-attitudinal variables and
addresses the issue of perceptions of a forest. Chapter 6 develops and explains the
attitude domains about forests. The results are presented and discussed in Chapter 7.
The final chapter draws conclusions from the study and suggests directions for future
research. Five objectives addressed this purpose.
Objective 1: Identify Perceptions of a Forest
The term "forest" may have multiple meanings that may or may not be consistent
between young adults in Peru and Florida. Attitudes about forests may very depending on
how a forest is perceived. A question on the survey dealt specifically with the perception
of a forest, and a number of multivariate analytical techniques were used to identify a
Objective 2: Develop Forest Attitude Domains
The theoretical foundation of the attitude domains measured in this study is a
typology of basic human attitudes toward animals developed by Kellert (1996). Though
elaborated in the next chapter, Kellert identified seven distinct attitudes (Table 1-1). This
study used forest-relevant attitude statements and factor analysis to explore the attitude
domains and attempted to reproduce them with forests as the attitude object.
Table 1-1 Kellert's Typology of Basic Attitudes About Animals (Kellert 1993b)
Utilitarian Practical and material exploitation of animals.
Naturalistic Direct experience and exploration of animals.
Scientific Systematic study of structure, function, and relationship with animals.
Humanistic Strong emotional attachment and "love" for animals.
Moralistic Spiritual reverence and ethical concern for animals.
Dominionistic Mastery, physical control, dominance of animals.
Negativistic Fear, aversion, alienation from animals.
Objective 3: Compare Peruvian and Floridian Attitudes about Forests
It was hypothesized that Peruvian respondents would express stronger utilitarian
and weaker moralistic and humanistic forest attitudes than Floridians (Kellert et al. 1996).
In one village near Iquitos, Peru, Wesley (1998) interviewed randomly-selected residents,
finding that they were explicitly aware of the close relationship between their survival and
local natural resources. Utilitarian attitudes might be associated with this awareness.
Floridians' livelihoods, in contrast, are typically not directly integrated with subsistence
needs, and they may not hold strong utilitarian attitudes. The American cultural climate is
also increasingly environmentally conscious (Bliss et al. 1994), which may generate
stronger humanistic and moralistic, and weaker utilitarian forest attitudes (Kellert 1996).
The objective focuses on what differences or similarities in attitudes exist between
Peruvians and Floridians, rather than what cultural factors are important determinants of
the attitudes. These data have implications in the development of conservation initiatives
using forest-specific environmental education in both sites.
Objective 4: Determine the Influence of Other Variables on Attitudes about Forests
The underlying factors influencing forest attitudes are of interest because they may
be site specific. In this study, the older students were expected to be more moralistic,
humanistic, and naturalistic, and less negativistic, dominionistic, and utilitarian than the
younger students (Kellert 1985a). It was expected that the effect of gender on the forest
attitudes would closely resemble studies using the same theoretical model, in which
females tended to be more moralistic, negativistic, and humanistic, and less scientific,
utilitarian, and dominionistic than males (Kellert 1996). A number of variables specific to
this study were also measured. It was hypothesized that the degree of recognized
resource dependency and urbanization would have the greatest effect on attitudes about
forests (Parry and Campbell 1992). Forest ecosystem knowledge was not expected to
significantly affect forest attitudes, though it was expected to be low in both populations.
This objective examines the relationship between socio-demographic variables and
forest attitudes in two socio-cultural environments. Results may support the predictive
power of specific explanatory variables and suggest a multidimensional model of forest
Objective 5: Measure the Relationship between Perceived Forest Renewability and
Attitudes about Forests.
Perceived forest renewability is the degree to which a person believes that a forest
can be used and restored indefinitely. It seems reasonable that there may be an innate
concern for resources that are perceived to be limited. DeYoung (1996) suggests that
"frugality" is a determinant of environmental behaviors. In the current study, it was
hypothesized that a positive relationship would exist between perceived forest renewability
and utilitarian attitudes, and that an inverse relationship would exist between perceived
renewability and humanistic, naturalistic, and moralistic attitudes. An exploratory study
suggested such a relationship (Monroe et al. 1999). The relationship specific to forests
has not been previously measured and reported in the literature. This association could
prove to be an important tool for environmental education programs, as discussion of
forest renewability could indirectly contribute to changes in attitudes about forests.
BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE
I do not know what I seem to be to others, but to myself I seem to have been like a boy walking on
the seashore, picking up another pebble more beautiful that the one before, while the great ocean of
truth lay all undiscovered before me.
They are beautiful habitats and I love the beauty of the forests but we need to cut down trees to
make homes, pencils, desks, etc. It is nice that we want to protect the rainforest but most of the
people who cut it down are poor and don't have much money but they make it from cutting down
Floridian 13-year-old female
Attitude surveys are one effective means of determining how people perceive the
natural world and their degree of environmental concern (Parry 1992). Interest in the
identification and measurement of attitudes about the environment (or "environmental
attitudes") began, in the scientific literature, in the mid-1970's and has expanded since.
Today, running the search string "attitudes about the environment" in the dissertation
abstracts alone reveals over 1200 entries, most of which have been completed in the
1990's. This chapter outlines the literature to date surrounding the complex endeavor of
environmental attitude measurement. While it would be impossible to review all the
environmental attitude studies in the literature and present them here, there are common
threads that situate this study within the body of scientific knowledge. This review
addresses a number of key themes: (1) the basic notion of an attitude and why it is
important; (2) the measurement of general environmental concern; (3) the theoretical
identification of different typologies of values of specific wildlands including forests; (4)
justification for selecting Kellert's typology in the experimental design and modifying it
for forest ecosystems; (5) measurement of attitudes about specific environmental issues in
(i) the United States, (ii) other "developed" nations, and (iii) "developing" nations; and (6)
cross-cultural comparisons of environmental attitudes. Specific attention is given to
studies focusing on young adults.
The Components and Relevance of Attitudes
An attitude is a disposition to react positively or negatively to some object (e.g., a
person, place, event, etc.) (Ajzen 1988). The characteristic attribute of an attitude is its
evaluative nature. "I like trees," "Spiders are scary," "Wood products are beautiful!" are
all examples of attitudes because they express a positive or negative evaluation about
something. Attitudes can also be neutral in the sense that the evaluation of a belief may
not be strongly positive or negative. Everyone has attitudes, though they are difficult to
measure because they are hypothetical constructs that are not tangible (e.g. attitudes can
not be held like a flower), so they must be inferred from measurable responses.
Attitudes are traditionally composed of two components: a belief about an object
and the evaluation of the belief (Fishbein 1963). This has been termed the Expectancy-
Value (EV) Model of attitudes. The belief is a subjective probability function that an object
has some attribute (i.e., how expected the relationship is). For example, the phrase "trees
are tall" is a belief statement associating the object (trees) with an attribute (tallness). The
evaluation of the belief is the determination of whether the association of the belief and the
attribute is good or bad. "I like tall trees," or "I don't like tall trees" are both attitudes
because they evaluate the belief. Typically, an object has more than one possible attribute.
As a result, the EV model is typically expressed as a summative function, where the
overall attitude about an object is considered to be all the beliefs about an object and their
A = > b ie (Equation 2-1)
where A= the attitude, bi= a belief about an attitude object, and ei= the evaluation of the
belief (Fishbein 1963).
For example, some young adults may view forests as scary places where they
might get hurt (belief), and this could be considered bad (evaluation of the belief). Young
adults might also identify forests as being a home for many animals (belief) and consider
this a good thing (evaluation of belief). The perceptions of a forest (both positive and
negative) influence the attitudes about the forest. An overall positive attitude about the
forest may be sufficient to gain support for forest conservation initiatives, though it may
be insufficient to engender action to implement the initiatives.
It has been suggested that attitudes may serve certain functions. For example,
Katz (1960) described four functions of attitudes: ego-defensive, value-expressive,
knowledge, and utilitarian. The ego-defensive function of attitudes helps people protect
themselves from unflattering truths about themselves. The value-expressive function
allows a person to express an important value. A person may like driving high-efficiency
cars because this shows an important concern for energy conservation and reduced
consumption of fossil fuels, which is an expression of a value. The knowledge function
helps people better understand events and people around them. Finally, the utilitarian
function helps people gain rewards and avoid punishments.
Attitudes may also act to create a cognitive structural base from which to identify
new experiences. If a person has a positive experience with a snake, the attitude (e.g., "I
like snakes," or "snakes are good") might be carried over to the next snake experience.
Most importantly, attitudes are thought to be predictors of behavior. Gordon
Allport (1935) called attitude "the most distinctive and indispensable concept in social
psychology" because attitudes were thought to direct (and thus allow the prediction of)
behaviors. There has been much debate in the psychological literature concerning the
formation and maintenance of attitudes, and their relationship with overt behavior (please
see Eagly and Chaiken 1993 for a review). One example of the relationship between
attitudes and behavior is the Theory of Planned Behavior (Figure 2-1) (Ajzen 1988). In
this model, attitudes are considered to be antecedent to behavior. While there are other
variables involved, the notion that attitudes influence the intention to act, which in turn
influences the action, is of utmost importance. Thus, understanding the attitudes of an
audience gives some indication (though certainly not 100%) to what behaviors they might
be likely to engage. This relationship has potential importance in the arena of
Figure 2-1 The Theory of Planned Behavior. The theory suggests that the best single predictor of
behavior is the intention to engage in the behavior. Further, the intention to act in mediated by
three main factors: a person's attitudes about the object, the subjective norm, and the perceived
behavioral control that taking action would have the intended result. This model, adapted from the
Petty and Cacioppo (1996) treatment of Ajzen's work, provides that the attitudinal and subjective
norm components will have different levels of influences (or weights) depending on the person and
the attitude/behavior object.
environmental conservation, and there have been numerous attempts to measure
Measuring Environmental Concern
Attitudes about the environment have been measured at different levels of
specificity. Some studies have looked at broad environmental concern, while others have
focused on specific components of concern for nature and the environment (e.g., concern
specifically for animals).
The New Environmental Paradigm
Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) thought there was an awakening environmentalism
in America that reflected a resolve against what they called the Dominant Social Paradigm,
which was characterized by a highly anthropocentric and anti-ecological attitudes about
the natural world in which humans are seen as above the rest of nature. They termed this
emerging movement the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP); it was characterized by
such concepts as "spaceship earth" and the "balance of nature." They endeavored to
measure the NEP by creating a scale that could accurately reflect the paradigm shift in the
population. According to Dunlap and Van Liere (1978), the literature of the time already
reported "dozens of studies of environmental attitudes." However, these studies focused
on specific issues such as pollution, population, or natural resources, rather than on the
broader issues such as "limits to growth" and the "balance of nature." As a results, they
designed a 12-item scale that would measure the strength of the NEP (Table 2-1, p. 15)
and reported a test of the scale on two samples from Washington state: a general public
sample (GPS) and an environmental organization sample (EOS). Not unexpectedly, the
environmentalists supported the NEP more than the general population. Significant
differences were recorded between the two groups for all twelve statements.
More important to the authors was the internal consistency of the scale. The
authors suggested that if the scale was actually measuring the "emergence of a true
'paradigm'" (p. 14) then there should be consistency between the responses to each
statement by individual respondents. Chronbach's alpha values for the EOS and GPS
samples were .813 and .758, respectively. The first unrotated principal factor accounted
for 69.2 percent of the variance in the GPS and 63.3 percent in the EOS. From these data,
the authors concluded that the scale formed "an internally consistent and unidimensional
scale" (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978, p. 14).
Geller and Lasley (1985) were also interested in a broad measure of environmental
concern but questioned the dimensionality of the NEP scale. They also tested the scale in
three different settings to assess its stability. They could not confirm the scale's
unidimensionality as previously reported, but rather concluded that the scale was three-
dimensional when nine of the twelve original questions were used. Their analysis used
confirmatory factor analysis rather than principal factor analysis. The main difference of
the model was that the hypothesized factors could be defined prior to analysis, thus
confirming a factor structure rather than exploring for statistical association. Conclusions
drawn should keep this analytical difference in mind. Using the entire NEP scale, four or
five factors were required to fit the data, depending on the sample. The three sub-
dimensions were (see Table 2-1): (1) items 2, 5, 8, 12; (2) items 7, 9, 11; and (3) items 3
and 4. However, the authors did not find evidence that the three factors were measuring
the same constructs across the different samples. They concluded that while the truncated
scale represented three dimensions, the assumption should not be made that the
dimensions are the same across groups. In essence, measuring such a broad category
across a broad group of people was problematic.
Using samples of visitors to National Parks, the dimensionality of the scale was
again tested. Noe and Snow (1990a) found evidence of two statistically significant
factors, rather than three. The two factors closely mimicked factors (1) and (3) identified
by Geller and Lasley (1985) except that question 6 (Table 2-1) associated with the second
factor. The authors concluded that the scale was not unidimensional. The alpha values
for each scale ranged from .63 to .71. Noe and Snow (1990b), however, had difficultly in
translating several items of the scale for a cross-cultural analysis in Florida. Though they
were again able to report either a two- or three-dimensional scale, the alpha values were
considerably lower, from .27 to .70 in the Hispanic sample while the non-Hispanic sample
ranged from .55 to .73 (Noe and Snow 1990b).
Schultz and Zelozny (1998) also found translating the scale problematic. Their
five country survey of college students yielded alpha values of .81 and .78 in the United
States, while the alpha values were relatively low in Mexico (a=. 58), Nicaragua (a=.62),
Spain (a=.64), and Peru (a=.50). Considering this, they found evidence of environmental
concern and what they termed "altruism" present in varying degrees in all five countries.
Table 2-1 The New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale Questions
1. We are approaching the limit of the number of people the earth can support.
2. The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset.
3. Humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs.
4. Mankind was created to rule over the rest of nature.
5. When humans interfere with nature it often produces disastrous consequences.
6. Plants and animals exist primarily to be used by humans.
7. To maintain a healthy economy we will have to develop a "steady-state" economy where
industrial growth is controlled.
8. Humans must live in harmony with nature in order to survive.
9. The earth is like a spaceship with only limited room and resources.
10. Humans need not adapt to the natural environment because they can remake it to suit their
11. There are limits to growth beyond which our industrial society cannot expand.
12. Mankind is severely abusing the environment.
Though it has not been suggested, there might be a difference not just in translation but
also in message content.
Measuring Actual Environmental Commitment with Verbal Commitment
The weak correlation between attitudes and behavior, especially when considering
environmental issues, has been recognized for some time (Van Liere and Dunlap 1981,
Schuman and Johnson 1976). Parallel to the early development of the NEP scale,
Maloney et al. (1975) developed a 128-item environmental concern scale that measured
four subscales: verbal commitment (the attitude about the concern), actual commitment
(the behavior resulting from the concern), affect (the "degree of emotionality" about the
issues), and factual knowledge related to ecological issues. Alpha values for each scale
were very high (a=.95, .94, .92, .94). However, Chronbach's alpha is a function of the
mean interitem correlation and the number of items in the scale. As Bernard (1995) notes,
a correlation of only 14 using a 25-item scale yields an alpha score of a=0.80. Figure 6-3
shows the alpha reliability as a function of interitem correlation and number of scale items.
With such a large number of scale items, the reported alpha values could have resulted
from interitem correlations ranging from r=0.2 to r=0.9. The interitem correlations were
not reported and cannot be specifically determined from the alpha scores.
The NEP scale items are probably too complex for children or even young adults,
and there have been a number of attempts to make it relevant to young adults. A modified
form of the Maloney et al. (1975) scale was used in Ireland on urban and rural school
children 11 years of age. Affect about the environment was not correlated with actual
commitment to preserve it (Williams and McCrorie 1990). Interestingly, while the
children's knowledge of the physical environment was low, affect and cognition of
environmental problems was relatively high.
Kahn and Friedman (1995) have reported on the development of children's
affiliation nature, proposing a second model of note. They proposed two categories of
environmental justification: homocentric and ecocentric. They interviewed children in
an inner-city community concerning their attitudes toward nature. As a precursor to the
research, they wondered "...what does it mean to say that we have an obligation not to
harm the natural environment? Does the natural environment feel pain? Does it have
rights?" (p. 1043). Using a hypothetical case of a polluted waterway, the children were
asked to judge whether a number of different circumstances were acceptable (e.g.
throwing trash in the bayou [Houston, Texas]). They identified two general forms of
response justification when polluting the bayou was not acceptable. The first, and most
common, justification was based on homocentric reasoning, where the environment is
given consideration but only because harm to the environment causes harm to people.
The second justification was based on biocentric reasoning, where the environment has
intrinsic value and is given consideration because of this. A third category was identified
as unelaboratedd harm to nature" in which the child did not provide a justification but
still considered the pollution wrong. Homocentric and biocentric justifications were
further categorized based as shown in Table 2-2.
Table 2-2 Summary of Environmental Justification Categories (Kahn and Friedman 1995)
Justification Description Explanation
Intrinsic Value of Nature
An appeal to personal interests and projects for recreation, fun,
Preservation of the environment for the viewing or experiencing
pleasures of humans
Referring to the physical, material, psychological welfare,
especially avoiding sickness
How other humans would judge the polluter, especially negative
That the polluter might get caught
That the pollution will influence others to pollute
Nature has intrinsic value, validity that is not derived solely
from human interests
Nature deserves respect and has rights
Appeal to a relationship between humans and nature
Typologies of Values Toward Natural Environments
One potential explanation for the poor relationship between verbal commitment
(e.g., expressions of attitudes) and actual commitment (e.g., behaviors) when related to
the environment is that the attitudes (and the beliefs and values that create them) are not
unidimensional, but rather exist in a multidimensional matrix. One of the principal
weaknesses of the NEP scale was its assumed unidimensionality. In retrospect, one could
question whether a unidimensional measure of environmental concern would be achievable
with any degree of internal or external validity. Indeed, when tested on different
populations, even the 12 questions in the NEP scale did not conform to a single unit
The next group of studies identified environmental values. A value is a
consideration of worth. Attitudes are not values, though they can be considered important
in the process of valuation. For example, a person who has strong moralistic attitudes
about a natural area may value the area as a sanctuary for wildlife.
Most of the valuation articles are not empirical and assume the value structure.
The last set of studies, conducted by Stephen Kellert, was based on an empirically
confirmed multidimensional attitude structure.
Identifying the Value of Different Wildlands and their Resources
Attitudes about the environment reflect an individual's preferences and values.
The concept of environmental concern is broad and nebulous. Issues as diverse as
pollution, human population, and natural resources could all be considered under the aegis
of environmental concern. Efforts have also been made to measure people's attitudes
about specific ecosystems or similar concepts such as "wilderness" and "wildlands."
Table 2-3 shows nine ways to consider the different values of specific
environmental types. While the emphasis of each typology is reasonably unique, the
typologies are consistent in identifying broad groups of values. The main distinction
between the different value categorizations is the degree of specificity. Driver et al.
(1987) chose to identify three main groups and a number of values within each group.
Rolston (1985) chose to list what he considered to be wildland values without creating
broad category groupings.
Kellert's typology differs substantially from the others in Table 2-3 in an important
way. The other authors considered the actual values of the specific environments,
providing a framework for understanding what nature provides regardless of whether
people perceive those benefits. Kellert, on the other hand, defined the typology from a
set of human attitudes about nature, which he empirically tested by creating attitude
scales. As a result, there are some semantic differences between Kellert's typology and
the others. The greatest overlap of Kellert's typology is with the "Personal Benefits"
category suggested by Driver et al. (1987), which is to be expected as Kellert's typology is
a reflection of individual valuation. Specifics of Kellert's typology follow.
Basic Human Values of Nature
Kellert (1979; 1985a; 1985b; 1991; 1993a; 1993b; 1995; 1996) has investigated
human attitudes toward nature, refining a typology of nine values that "are thought to
reflect a range of physical, emotional, and intellectual expressions of the...tendency to
associate with nature" (Kellert 1996, p.26). While it is difficult to understand the
substance of the values, the concepts behind the values can be grasped in Table 2-4. More
thorough explanations of the values can be found elsewhere (Kellert 1993b; Kellert 1996).
Kellert's original typology was developed to as a result of investigation into human
attitudes toward animals.
These values are not considered mutually exclusive and, if accurate, conspire
together to determine individual tendencies toward nature. One basic premise of this
typology is that the individual attitude domains, when taken together, form an attitude
profile. It is this attitude profile that is useful from the perspective of understanding the
larger picture of the audience of interest. While Kellert originally developed this typology
for people's evaluations of animals (Kellert 1985a), he later applied the model, including
hypothesized biological "functions" for the values, to "nature" in general (Table 2-4). A
"symbolic" value was added later in the literature.
Kellert used these basic values to investigate attitudes toward animals and nature
based on differences in gender (Kellert 1996), age (Kellert 1985a), ethnicity (Kellert
1996), in other countries (Kellert 1991), and between countries (Kellert 1993a). He also
applied the typology to discuss practical methods for endangered species conservation
(Kellert 1985b), large carnivore conservation (Kellert et al. 1996), and economic cost-
benefit analysis (Kellert 1984).
It is interesting to note potential overlaps between Table 2-2 and Table 2-4.
Kellert's humanistic and moralistic values loosely associate with biocentric reasoning.
Table 2-3 Classification Systems for Environmental Values
Study Environment Categories of Value
1. life support
8. natural history
1. value I market value (i.e. economic)
2. value II non-market value of public goods and services that can be given
economic value (e.g. recreation, flood control, etc.)
3. value mI non-market value of public goods and services that are intangible (e.g.,
habitat for wildlife and native people, global carbon balance and
atmospheric stability, etc.)
rain forests 1. genetic material
2. wildlife habitat
wilderness 1. stress removal
2. personal achievement
3. spiritual value
4. social value
5. nature appreciation
nature 1. economic
2. life support
wildlands 1. market
2. life support
wilderness 1. Personal Benefits
iii. skill development
c. physical health
e. social identity
j. other recreation benefits
4. basic research
5. climatic regulator
6. protect water supply
7. quality recreation
9. wildlife reservations
6. life value
7. diversity/unity value
8. stability value
5. genetic diversity
7. culturally symbolic
2. Social Benefits
a. aggregate personal
ii. species diversity
iii. air quality
iv. unique landforms
v. historic sites
e. quality of life
f. commodity uses
7. source of raw material
8. national heritage
12. historical value
13. future generations
9. spontaneity value
10. dialectical value
11. sacramental value
9. character building
12. intrinsic natural
3. Intrinsic Benefits
-Benefits to non-
Driver et al.
Table 2-4 Kellert's Typology of Basic Values Modified for "Nature" (Kellert 1996)
Value Definition Function
Practical and material exploitation of nature
Direct experience and exploration of nature
Systematic study of structure, function, and
relationship with nature
Physical appeal and beauty of nature
Use of nature for language and thought
Strong emotional attachment and "love" for
aspects of nature
Spiritual reverence and ethical concern for
Mastery, physical control, dominance of nature
Negativistic Fear, aversion, alienation from nature
Curiosity, discovery, recreation
Knowledge, understanding, observational
Inspiration, harmony, security
Communication, mental development
Bonding, sharing, cooperation,
Order, meaning, kinship, altruism
Mechanical skills, physical prowess, ability
Security, protection, safety, awe
Homocentric reasoning is associated with utilitarian, aesthetic, and dominionistic values.
Naturalistic and scientific values could be associated with both justifications, while
negativistic is likely not to be associated with environmental justification at all. The
values and their environmental justifications have provided one method for
understanding human attitudes toward the natural environment.
Attitudes in the United States
Attitudes about Animals
Kellert's original surveys focused on people's attitudes towards animals. In
general, the American public scored relatively high humanistic marks and relatively low
dominionistic marks with the scientific value representing the lowest scoring value
(Kellert 1996). However, American society is notably diverse (Milbrath 1985) and
generalizing about the population without teasing apart influencing factors would be both
inappropriate and misleading.
Between genders, Kellert reports strikingly different composites. Females tended
to express higher humanistic, moralistic, and negativistic sentiments but lower
dominionistic and utilitarian attitudes compared to males. Their knowledge score was
moderately low. Males tended to maintain moderate levels for each category except
negativistic, which was low (Kellert 1996). Their knowledge score was moderately high.
The difference between urban and rural America was also distinct. Urbanites
tended to express lower utilitarian, but higher moralistic sentiments than rural residents.
The most distinct group was the livestock producers, who expressed extremely high
utilitarian, but very low moralistic values. The scores of the general population survey
fell in between the rural and urban population marks (Kellert 1996).
Striking differences between European-American and African-American
populations were noted. Compared to European-Americans, African-Americans scored
very low naturalistic and ecologistic marks, but moderately high utilitarian and high
negativistic marks. Their knowledge score was considerably lower than European-
Differences in age-related attitudes about animals was investigated (Kellert
1985a). As age (and consequently level of education) increased, humanistic and
moralistic values increased while dominionistic and negativistic values decreased.
Naturalistic and ecologistic values also increased. This trend continued through graduate
school, with those respondents completing college and entering graduate school
expressing very high naturalistic, humanistic, ecologistic/scientific, and moralistic
tendencies, but very low utilitarian, domionistic, and negativistic scores. Not
surprisingly, knowledge increased with level of education. These general levels were
corroborated by at least one other study (Yore and Boyer 1997), where knowledge level
was directly correlated to ecologistic (r=.4086), naturalistic (r=.4123), scientific
(r=.4106), humanistic (r=.2725), and moralistic (r=.2325) attitudes, but inversely
correlated with negativistic (r=-.4153), utilitarian (r=-.3064), and dominionistic (r=-
.2822) attitudes. Further, Vigorito (1996) reported that entering and majoring
psychology students expressed generally negative views of animal research (i.e. low
dominionistic attitude), but generally a positive attitude toward the environment and
animal rights (i.e. humanistic/moralistic attitudes).
One question that arises from these results is for what animal type are people
most likely to express humanistic values? Kellert primarily determined the humanistic
value component by respondent expression of "love" for pets. Eddy et al. (1993) reported
that dogs and cats were considered by respondents to be similar to humans and to have
similar cognitive abilities. Only primates were rated closer to humans in "similarity and
active cognitive thought" (p.96). Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and non-domesticated
animals were not considered similar to humans and respondents did not believe that these
organisms engaged in cognition. Invertebrates were designated furthest from humans,
considered to be dissimilar to humans and possessing little if any cognitive ability. If
empathy truly does derive from perception of similarity or commonality, then these data
engender considerable concern when viewed in light of the current biodiversity crisis, as
Kellert (1985b) notes that many of the species most imminently threatened with
extinction are invertebrates in tropical regions.
Plous (1993) performed a similar cognitive mapping experiment with children
and adults, asking respondents to rank six species in order of preference for saving from
extinction, assuming that, for the purposes of the survey, all organisms on the list were
equally threatened with extinction. The gorilla ranked first in both similarity and
preservation preference, while the beetle ranked last. This is somewhat disturbing
considering the relative importance of these organisms to ecosystem functions. The
researchers also asked children and adults about animals' levels of happiness under
certain conditions: on a farm, as a companion animal, in a zoo, and in the wild. The
children overwhelmingly felt that animals liked being in zoos, there was enough space,
and the animals were happier than if they were in the wild. The adults sampled
contrasted markedly to these sentiments, conceding that animals did not like zoos and
would be happier in the wild. The children, however, were convinced that farm animals
were happier than wild animals.
Attitudes about Forests
Using children as sample interviewees, Strommen (1995) investigated perceptions
of forests and their wildlife. The children (first grade students) were asked to draw
pictures of forests, and were subsequently interviewed about the drawing they made.
Drawings primarily contained trees (97.5%), mammals (64%), and the sun (62%). Less
common in the drawings were grass (55%), birds (43.6%), clouds (22.5%),
reptiles/amphibians (22.5%), water (18%), bugs (13%), flowers (13%), and fish (8%).
During the interview, children were asked to name creatures that inhabited forests.
While forest inhabitants such as deer, beaver, bobcat, moose, ladybug, and bear were
mentioned, whales, dolphins, alligators, cheetahs, and hermit crabs were also mentioned.
This suggests that children may consider "forests" as repositories for the strange and
exotic creatures not part of daily life. While most children recognize forests as being
dominated by trees, what lies inside the forest remains somewhat of a mystery. As
children this young are generally not equipped to cognitively interpret conservation
issues (Kellert 1985a), they were not surveyed using Kellert's format.
Older students, however, have sufficiently developed reasoning skills to consider
conservation issues surrounding forests and animals (Kellert 1985a; Vigorito 1996; Yore
and Boyer 1997), and even develop patterns of moral thought concerning nature as the
moral object (Nevers et al. 1997).
A series of studies has attempted to gauge the adult American public's attitudes
about forests. A public focus group in Florida suggested that their core values for forests
were aesthetics and economic development (Miles et al. 1997). This differed from the
Department of Forestry (DOF) focus group, which listed protecting forest and nature at
the top of their core values (Miles et al. 1997).
Another recent study in Florida revealed that the public near Eglin Airforce Base
was relatively in favor of environmental protection and ecosystem management
(Jacobson and Marynowski 1997). The research also indicated a relatively low level of
knowledge among the public about ecosystems, fire management, or local endangered
species. These data suggest that attitudes about nature may be independent from
biological or ecological knowledge. The public, however, was specifically opposed to
controlled burning of Eglin forested land even if it would increase wildlife habitat.
Correspondingly, the public revealed little knowledge about the importance of fire in
maintaining the longleaf pine (Pinuspalustris) ecosystems (Jacobson and Marynowski
1997). Another study found support for prescribed burning among different groups of
forest users, even when the fires occasionally escape control (Gardner et al. 1985). This
variation may be a function of the samples' knowledge of the importance of fire in
certain ecosystems, or there may be other factors at play.
Other studies have found the public's knowledge of biological and ecological
processes to be low (Diefenbach et al. 1997; Trauger et al. 1995). Diefenbach et al.
(1997) examined the attitudes of Pennsylvania sportsmen toward white-tailed deer
management. In general, the respondents disagreed that deer aversely affected
Pennsylvania forests when overpopulated. As a result, opposition to management
programs was noted.
As the public appears relatively unknowledgeable about ecosystem functions,
they are potentially vulnerable to persuasive communication strategies (Tarrant et al.
1997). Participants in this study, who were rural residents, were persuaded through a
combination of high relevance and a strong argument that preservation of species and
conservation of resources through ecosystem management was important. Further, their
overall attitude about resource management and nature was also significantly affected.
Despite this, none of the persuasive arguments convinced the respondents that reduced
harvesting (p=.13), reducing jobs (p=.38), or increasing costs (p=.61) were acceptable
consequences of environmental protection and management (Tarrant et al. 1997).
Similarly, Brunson and Reiter (1996) reported that a five minute information message
significantly increased the acceptability of ecosystem management stands versus
clearcuts or commercially thinned stands near roadways among office workers.
In a study of Tucson, Arizona residents living near federally protected land, the
respondents emphasized that high density housing (93.6%), golf courses (78.8%), and
commercial development (83.3%) were inappropriate land uses in the Tucson area (Harris
et al. 1997). However, low density housing was viewed as an appropriate land use
Forest users were also surveyed concerning their environmental attitudes (Nord et
al. 1998). Again, the distinction was drawn between proenvironmental behavior and
environmental concern. Pro-environmental behavior included donating money to
environmental organizations, consumer advocacy for environmentally friendly products,
watching a television show about the environment, and voting for a political candidate
based on his/her position on the environment. Environmental concern was measured by
asking respondents to rate the "quality of the environment" from "not serious at all" to
"very serious" (p.239). On the whole, forest recreation was correlated with
proenvironmental behavior (R2=.252) and very weakly correlated with environmental
Despite the weak correlation between environmental concern and forest
recreation, opinion polls taken over the past decade demonstrate a growing perception
among the American public that natural resources such as clean water are dwindling, and
given a choice between environmental protection and economic growth, most Americans
say they would choose the environment (Bliss et al. 1994). Shindler et al. (1993) reported
that 75% of the public favored managing federal forests as a whole and not for individual
parts (such as owls or trees), 73% felt that more wilderness areas should be established,
63% agreed that clear cutting should be banned on federal land (57% of Oregon residents
also agreed), and 76% agreed that greater efforts should be made to protect remaining
old-growth forests. In contrast, only 17% of Americans felt that endangered species laws
should be set aside to preserve timber jobs, and 37% felt that the economic vitality of local
communities should be given highest priority when making federal forest decisions
(Shindler et al. 1993). The general public felt that governmental officials should be most
responsive to locally affected communities when environmental concerns conflict with
economic concerns. Though the public tended to be pro-environment, they seemed to
empathize with people whose livelihoods were affected.
Vining (1992) compared the responses and expectations of forest managers, an
environmental group, and the public. The public and the environmental group were
found to be similar to each other but different from the managers in terms of decisions
and emotions. Interestingly, all three groups accurately predicted the responses of each
of the other groups, with the exception of the managers and environmental group
perceiving the public sample to be less emotional than it was. Not only is there a
reasonable understanding of American attitudes about nature, some interest groups can
accurately predict the perceptions and attitudes of other groups.
To date, Kellert's attitude typology is not well represented in the literature as a
tool for measuring attitudes about forests in the United States.
Measuring Attitudes in Other Countries
Japan has been the focus of a study by Kellert (1991), which was based on issues
generated from Wantanabe (1974) and Moreby (1982). Moreby (1982) contended that
whaling had deep cultural and religious roots and that Japanese were unlikely to modify
their habits if the practice was vilified. This may stem from the observation that no
human/nature dichotomy existed in Japanese culture (Wantanabe 1974), that humans live
as a part of nature. However, Japan has been identified as a primary contributor in many
areas of global environmental destruction (Kellert 1991). This general trend was
expressed as a relatively high dominionistic score and a low moralistic score. The
humanistic value was the highest score recorded. As Kellert (1993b) noted:
Japanese appreciation for animals was generally restricted to species possessing unusual
aesthetic and cultural appeal in certain highly controlled circumstances. [One] respondent
described [the Japanese appreciation of animals] as reflecting a Japanese preference for an
artificial, highly abstract, and symbolic rather than realistic experience of animals and
nature; a motivations to "touch" nature, but from a controlled and safe distance. (p.59)
Japanese attitudes toward nature were also dependent upon age, with the notable
exception of the moralistic score, which remained consistent throughout.
A study of German attitudes revealed an "unusually" high moral attitude toward
nature, typified by a willingness to sacrifice practical human benefits for the sake of
nature and animals (Kellert 1993b).
The German public consistently expressed considerable opposition to the exploitation of
animals and a strong concern for their welfare. They frequently indicated a willingness to
extend rights to animals even when such rights entailed a substantial loss of benefits to
Very low dominionistic and utilitarian sentiments in the German population were also
Wilson (1992) surveyed landowners in New Zealand about native forests on
farmland, reporting that a majority of respondents regularly visit nearby parks. When
asked when the "conservation movement" arrived in their area, about 26% of the
respondents thought it had always been there, while about the same number indicated
that the movement took hold in the 1970's. Just under 10% of the respondents thought
the movement had yet to reach them. Forty-six percent of respondents subscribed to
conservation-oriented publications and 22% of the farmers were members of
conservation groups. They concluded that older landowners and less educated
landowners were more likely to have utilitarian attitudes to their native forest holdings.
In contrast, farmers whose families have been on the land for a longer period of time
tended to express more naturalistic attitudes.
The majority of studies from developing nations focus on participatory
conservation. The park/preserve system in the United States has often served as the
model for conservation in developing nations. As a result, studies have given specific
emphasis to the attitudes of local residents about the parks (Harcourt et al. 1986; Infield
1988; Heinen 1993; Newmark et al. 1993; Dhar 1994; Fiallo and Jacobson 1995;
Richards 1996). The focus is more on application of management principles and
participatory conservation. This is primarily due to the needs of the local people in
developing nations, where creation of national parks sometimes results in loss of land
potentially valuable for hunting or subsistence agriculture.
Protected areas (PA's) represent one form of conservation of ecosystem that is of
growing popularity in developing nations (Ite 1996, Mkanda & Munthali 1994). In
response to the creation of the Cross River National Park in southeast Nigeria, residents
of four villages were asked if they perceived a need for protected areas, and over 91%
responded affirmatively. The residents recognized the benefits of having the park
nearby, the two most important of which being employment and tourism (over 50% of
respondents); and 34% of all respondents related that their households derived benefit
from the park. In general, the residents understood the importance of protected areas and
felt positively about the nearby park.
Hartup (1994) investigated attitudes of landowners participating in the
Community Baboon Sanctuary (CBS), a voluntary conservation program in Belize. The
authors noted that the project will only be successful with local participation. Ninety-
four percent of the participants surveyed felt the baboon (Black Howler Monkeys,
Alouatta caraya) should be protected. Reasons given for the protection were non-
economic, that "the monkey is a unique, human-like animal." Eighty-nine percent of the
respondents considered there to be less game than ten years ago, 64% of whom expressed
that overhunting was the reason for game decline. Considering cattle grazing, 73% of
landowners reported leaving a vegetation buffer strip between the cleared land and the
river. However, 27% mentioned the need to clear completely to the river so the cattle
would have direct access to the water source. The issue of subsistence is critical and
often signifies a barrier between attitudes and actions. While most of the participants
recognize the benefit of conservation, the necessities of harvesting food or raising cattle
tend to outweigh even the most conservation-oriented people.
This sentiment was found to be true in Africa as well. Newmark et al. (1993)
found that 71% of the sample in Tanzania were in favor of keeping protected areas (or
"opposed to the park's suggested abolition"), but that 47% of the respondents thought the
park staff did nothing that was "good." A large 74.8% felt poachers were law-breakers,
yet a clear distinction was made between killing for subsistence and poaching in the
minds of the respondents. This led the authors to suggest that individuals who
experience or perceive a resource shortage or problem are more likely to support the
abolishment of the adjacent conservation area (Newmark et al. 1993). Parry and
Campbell (1992) found the local residents in the Chobe Enclave, Botswana to have
negative attitudes towards wildlife because they perceived crop damage. Again, a
distinction was drawn between people who depend on local natural resources and those
who do not. In this case, the family's level of affluence was not a significant predictor.
Infield (1988), similarly, found that the perceived benefit to the household of a
conservation area (usually in terms of employment) was a strong predictor of support for
the conservation area in Natal, South Africa. Level of affluence was not a good predictor
of support for the conservation area (Infield 1988). Hill (1998) reported that those
respondents in Uganda who did not consider elephants to be dangerous were more likely
to express positive attitudes towards their conservation.
Heinen (1993) found that of those expressing favorable attitudes toward the Kosi
Tappu Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, 62% said that permission to collect thatch within the
reserve was the main reason. Most (65%) of the respondents disliked the reserve.
Support for conservation was again tempered by subsistence reality in Equador
(Fiallo and Jacobson 1995). While almost every respondent agreed with the statement,
"it is important to protect the forest for our children", most also thought that park land
should be used for agriculture and gathering firewood. Perceived benefit from the park
was indicated as a significant predictor of a positive attitude towards the protected area.
A study of the NEP in Istanbul again revealed a relatively low level of knowledge
regarding environmental problems, though at least some degree of environmental
concern was noted (Furman 1998). Despite this, knowledge correlated positively with
environmental concern. The author explicitly mentioned that some of the scale items
were reworded to apply to a developing nation.
Roth and Perez (1989) found that 12th grade students in the Dominican Republic
who had received no exposure to environmental education averaged a score of 55% on an
attitude scale. Poverty and deforestation were ranked as the most critical environmental
problems, indicating again a potential relationship between environmental concern and
subsistence needs. Kahn et al. (1996) surveyed 13 year olds in Brazil and found that
concern for the environment was prevalent in both urban and rural environments. They
speculated that the children had yet to be hardened by subsistence reality. For example,
most of the children in the rural sample considered logging to be morally wrong, yet
many village members evidently derived their livelihoods from logging. The authors
wondered at what age positive attitudes about the environment would be tempered by the
need to survive. It can be inferred from Roth and Perez (1989) that by the time
Dominican students reach the 12th grade, they have come to that realization. Of
particular note here is the observation that positive attitudes toward the environment are
not necessarily shifted as people transition from adolescence to adulthood. Studies
presented above tend to show relatively strong verbal commitment from adults in
developing countries. That verbal commitment may not be a strong predictor of overt
behavior has been suggested and observed in other venues as well, and it is reasonable to
suggest that subsistence realities would further decrease the efficacy of verbal
commitment as a predictor of behavior.
Also, if attitudes about forests are multidimensional and mutually exclusive,
utilitarian attitudes could increase as moralistic, humanistic, and naturalist are held
constant. The multidimensional feature would provide a plasticity to attitudes about
forests allowing modifications to the overall attitude profile without disrupting
previously identified values or, as a result, forcing re-evaluation of previous attitudes.
Factors that Influence Environmental Attitudes
Attitude studies have identified a constellation of different factors that could be
involved in expression of environmental attitudes (Objective 2). As Fiallo and Jacobson
(1995) summarize from six international studies, there are a number of factors that
consistently show significant correlation with attitudes toward conservation, even when
measured on different continents: level of education, level of affluence, and the people's
perceived benefits associated with conservation. However, there are also cases where
even these factors had no effect on conservation attitudes (Heinen 1993, Parry and
Campbell 1992). Other factors that have been implicated include age, knowledge,
perceived problems with wildlife, land shortage, and residence length (Fiallo and Jacobson
1995). Some demographic variables have been shown to significantly contribute to
attitudes about natural resources in more than one cultural group (Kellert 1993b). Despite
this, there is little consensus of opinion as to what factors are most important in the
development of conservation attitudes. Indeed, ubiquitous factors may not exist. If
culture does influence attitudes about natural resources, factors that influence
conservation attitudes will vary in accordance with localized situations.
Table 2-5 identifies potentially explanatory variables and some of the studies that
have either corroborated or refuted their involvement in the expression of environmental
attitudes. While a majority of studies provide support for a link between level of
education and environmental attitudes, other independent variables are less clear.
Considering urbanization, Blum (1987) found urban respondents to be more concerned
about the environment and suggested this was so due to their romantic notions of nature.
Rural respondents, by contrast, would not develop such notions because they live
"closer" to nature and witness its ambivalence. This was supported by Kellert (1996)
who found higher humanistic and moralistic scores and lower utilitarian and
dominionistic attitudes in the urban sample. Williams and McCrorie (1990), on the other
had found rural children to be significantly more concerned about the environment than
urban children, and suggested that the rural children's experience, knowledge, and
immersion in nature might engender the concern.
Inconsistent results have also been achieved measuring the relationship between
level of knowledge and environmental attitudes. Where there was a relationship (Lyons
and Breakwell 1994, Kellert 1996), it was positive. However, there are also cases where
level of knowledge had no effect. While it hasn't been explicitly stated, the discrepancy
is likely due to how the respondents were sampled, and what type of "knowledge" was
being sampled. For example, the relationship Fiallo and Jacobson (1995) measured was
Table 2-5 Factors Influencing Environmental Attitudes
Influence on Environmental Attitudes
Factor Positive (+) Negative (-) Significant No Effect
Borden and Schettino
Van Liere and Dunlap
Williams and McCrorie
Roth and Perez (1989)
Williams and McCrorie
Lyons and Breakwell
Van Liere (1980)
Samdahl and Robertson
Fiallo and Jacobson
Lyons and Breakwell
Harcourt et al. (1996)
Fiallo and Jacobson
Maloney et al. (1975)
Borden and Schettino
Williams and McCrorie
Noe and Snow (1990b)
Van Liere (1980)
Level of Education
Perceived Benefit to
Level of Affluence
Maloney et al. (1975)
Fiallo and Jacobson
Fiallo and Jacobson
Parry and Campbell
Newmarket al. (1993)
Parry and Campbell
Parry and Campbell
Newmarket al. (1993)
Household Modernity Infield (1988)
between knowledge of conservation issues and management plans and local residents'
attitudes towards the Machalilla National Park, Equador. In this case, the type of
knowledge sampled directly related to a specific conservation issue: the park. Borden
and Schettino (1979), in contrast, measured "environmental knowledge" and regressed it
with "environmental feelings." The concepts measured were more general and difficult
to specify. Many concepts could be considered under the aegis of "environmental
knowledge," some of which might directly relate to "environmental feelings," but others
Respondent age as a predictor of environmental attitudes has yielded inconsistent
results. In general, the direction of the relationship in the literature depended on the
parameters of the sampling frame. For example, Van Liere and Dunlap (1981) indicated
that there was a strong negative relationship, i.e. the older the respondent the less
concerned he/she is with environmental problems. The sampling frame was all age
groups from young adults to the elderly. As people grow older, it was interpreted, they
care less about the environment and more about their local concerns. For studies whose
sampling frame was more restricted (e.g., Kellert 1985), however, there was a positive
relationship between age and moralistic, humanistic, and naturalistic attitudes about
animals. Kellert (1985) sampled four age groups between first grade and high school. It
should be noted that at this age, respondents are increasing their level of education
parallel to their increased age. As a result, the relationship between age and
environmental attitudes might be spurious.
Identical measurement methodology is paramount in making justifiable
comparisons between different regional groups or populations in different countries
(Blum 1987). The NEP scale provides one version of that methodological consistency.
Schultz and Zelozny (1998) focused on "altruism" with the NEP in Mexico, Nicaragua,
Peru, Spain, and the United States. The authors concluded that values (attitudes) are
important predictors of pro-environmental behavior.
Kellert (1993b) compared attitudes about animals between people in the United
States, Japan, and Germany. However, the author warned against generalizing from the
findings and that statistical analyses of significance were not appropriate because the
independent studies differed slightly in methodology and the German sample was not
randomly selected. Despite this, there were striking differences between the samples that
are of note. First, the standardized mean moralistic score for the German sample was
more than two times greater than the American sample, which was higher than the
Japanese sample (Kellert 1993b). A similar circumstance was noted for the
dominionistic values, where the Japanese sample was over two times greater than the
American sample, which was larger than the German sample. The German sample
scored lower on negativistic and utilitarian scores, but higher on the naturalistic score,
than American or Japanese samples, whose scores were similar. In general, American
respondents were more knowledgeable than Japanese respondents about basic biological
concepts. Japanese respondents were conspicuously less opposed to hunting than
Americans, regardless of the reasoning. Eighty-five percent of the German sample,
however, opposed hunting under all circumstances, higher than the American sample. In
summary, the Japanese sample displayed a fairly consistent dominionistic attitude
generally lacking in concern for the well-being of wildlife. The German cohort,
however, displayed a high degree of concern for the well-being of wildlife, even
extending moral standing to non-human animals at the expense of practical human
Kahn et al. (1996) report a preliminary tool for understanding how children from
unrelated cultural and physical backgrounds value nature. The authors combined data
from rural and urban cohorts in Brazil with the results of a study of inner-city black youth
in Houston, Texas (Kahn and Friedman 1995). Results were discussed in terms of
foundational ethical reasoning, which provides an addition to Kellert's values. There were
few significant differences between the two groups but rather striking similarities. For
example, both groups primarily used homocentric reasoning (74% in Houston, 78% in
Brazil) to defend their statements that polluting the river or bayou was wrong. Polluting
the bayou in Houston was considered unacceptable under any circumstance; polluting the
river in Brazil was also considered unacceptable under any circumstance. Even more
striking was the similar wording of responses to the questions. For example,
Because the river was not made to have trash thrown in it, because the river belongs to nature.
Because water is what nature made; nature didn't make water to be purple and stuff like that, just
one color. When you're dealing with what nature made, you need not destroy it. (Houston Child)
Even if the animals are not human beings, for them they are the same as we are, they think like we
do. (Brazilian Child)
Fish don't have the same things we have. But they do the same things. They don't have noses, but
they have scales to breathe, and they have mouths. And they have eyes like we have eyes.
(Houston Child) (Kahn et al. 1996, p.985)
As the authors suggest, there may be some factors operating in the development of our
relationship with nature that transcend regional influence.
Blum (1987) coalesced five previous studies of ninth- and tenth-grade students in
the United States, Australia, England, and Israel into one report. In general, Israeli
students held stronger environmental beliefs than those in the other countries.
Knowledge of facts and concepts was highly correlated to local situations, as might be
expected. For example, students in Israel, which has no fossil fuel resources of its own,
were more aware than respondents in other countries that natural resources are unevenly
distributed over different countries.
A few important conclusions can be drawn that relate specifically to this project.
First, the literature suggests that environmental support is high in the United States
among the general public of various ages. A similar sympathy seems to exist
internationally, although participants in developing nations are moderated by subsistence
considerations, which tend to force a contradiction between what the respondents are
saying and what they can realistically do. Conservation initiatives in these countries
must address local subsistence issues simultaneously for program support to survive.
Kahn et al. (1996) suggest that studies with children older than 13 might reveal at
what point children in the Amazon recognize their relationship with the local natural
environment. The difference between attitudes about forests between 12 to 13-year-olds
and 16 to 17-year-olds might shed light on this subject. Similarly, Kellert (1985)
suggests that environmental education programs should be tailored to different age
groups, because his study revealed age-related differences in attitudes about animals in
the United States. These age-related difference may or may not exist in Peru or other
Knowing the attitude of the target audience greatly informs the process of
developing suitable educational materials. Blum (1987) recognized that his report
characterized developed nations, and suggests that a comparison between a developed
nation and a developing nation would be useful. From this perspective, the analysis
provided by Ham and Castillo (1990) is also useful. They documented the infrastructure
problems hindering the exportation of U.S. environmental education models to rural
Honduras. What they did not address, but implicitly suggested, was that the attitudes and
perceptions of the students might be different as well, which would affect the potential
success of the programs. This is equally true in a study comparing Floridians and
Peruvians considering living conditions between the two regions are so different.
I have to say that all people should take care of our ecosystems because they benefit everyone.
Peruvian 13-year-old female
Well, I feel forests are very important in many ways, they are also pretty but I feel it's not a place
you could hang out in because they are dangerous in many ways.
Floridian 13-year-old female
This study was based on two inherently different samples of young adults in the
Peruvian Amazon and North-Central Florida. Environmental and cultural differences
create two quite distinct study milieus. This chapter outlines the two study sites and
describes the sampling methods used. As there are differences in the sampling methods,
each study population will be separately described.
The survey in Florida was conducted from late September 1999 to early December
1999, except for one school that was not visited until late February 2000 for logistical
reasons. The study was limited to Alachua and Suwannee counties. Both urban and rural
youth were included in the survey, with the urban/sub-urban sample representing schools
in the city of Gainesville, Florida (Figure 3-1). The two rural locations were Newberry
and Branford, Florida. Newberry is located in Alachua County approximately 15 miles
from Gainesville. Branford is in Suwannee County, approximately 45-50 miles from
Figure 3-1 Map of North Central Florida Highlighting the Cities of Gainesville,
Newberry, and Branford. Map modified from Bell, C.R., Taylor, B.J., 1982. Florida
Wildflowers and Roadside Plants. Laurel Hill Press: Chapel Hill, NC.
Gainesville along the Suwannee River. Although Gainesville is a metropolitan area, it is
very different from a true urban center. As a result, this study compares young adults in a
small city to those in the surrounding rural area.
To investigate potential age-related differences in forest attitudes, two age groups
were sampled: 12 to 13-year-olds and 16 to 17-year-olds. In the Floridian academic
system, this translated to middle school 7th graders and high school 11th graders.
The Administrative Permission Process
The administrative permission process played prominently in the overall inferential
power of the sample. In Alachua County, the permission process was a hierarchy
beginning at the School Board of Alachua County. After the school board agreed to the
study, the principal (or assistant principal) at each school signed off. The principals'
decisions whether or not to allow the survey was primarily determined by teacher interest.
When an teacher expressed interest, the principal investigator was instructed to contact
the teacher directly. In Gainesville, three schools refused to participate in the study. At
the first, the decision was made unilaterally by the assistant principal for curriculum
without consulting teachers, which did not give the teachers the opportunity to express
interest. At the other two schools, there were no interested teachers.
Outside of Alachua County, the permission process was more relaxed. At the
Branford K-12 school, the principal was the primary contact. The teachers still had to
agree to the class disruption. The classes of only two of the three interested teachers
were visited for logistical reasons, though each grade level was represented.
Randomizing the Sample
Participants in the sample naturally cluster in classrooms, and the original sampling
design was a stratified random sample that utilized the classroom as a cluster of individual
participants. Unfortunately, the Florida sample was determined primarily by teacher
interest. As a result, there was not a sampling frame from which to choose students (or
classes) randomly. The Florida sample can not be considered random, and the inferential
power of the statistical results should be lessened accordingly. However, the principal
investigator had no say in who was actually chosen to participate, so there was no
experimenter-based selection bias in the sample. Further, the results of the experimental
survey are similar to the results of the pilot tests in Florida, providing some degree of
The Contact Situations
The principal investigator administered the survey to each class and informed the
participants of their rights. As such, the potential for experimenter bias was high. That is,
there was concern that the students might form initial impressions of how the principal
investigator might answer the survey (or want them to answer the survey), and then
answer the questions based on the impression. This was a point of extreme concern.
Experimenter bias was dealt with qualitatively in Peru and Florida and quantitatively in
Florida. The quantitative measurement of the effect of experimenter bias is described in
To reduce experimenter bias (or at least keep it constant), the principal
investigator chose attire that would not directly support any position, but would rather be
relatively neutral. The same attire was worm for each school visit. The experimenter
appearance was one that did not contribute any explicit cues to a position on the forest
attitudes that were being measured. However, it is impossible to eliminate the implicit
assumptions that might be made regardless of attire.
The brief introduction to each classroom was consistent as possible. Participants
in each class had been given parental permission forms by the teacher, and only those who
returned signed forms were allowed to participate in the actual survey. The principal
investigator visited each classroom once to deliver the survey. Response rate from the
parental permission form was 80%. The students were informed that there were no right
or wrong answers to the survey, it was not a test, they did not have to answer any
question they did not want to answer, and they could stop taking the survey at any point
without any penalty. Also, the students were told to omit their names to ensure
The survey took between 8 and 20 minutes to complete. The older students
averaged 10 minutes to complete the survey, while the younger students completed in 12-
The Peruvian section of this study was completed in nine weeks: from June 13,
1999 to August 14, 1999. All components of the study, which included pilot tests,
coordination, and sampling, were completed in this time frame. Sampling in such a short
period of time required organization and flexibility on the part of school administrators
and teachers in Iquitos. The written survey format was inappropriate for the rural sample
because of literacy constraints. As a result, no direct comparison could be made between
the urban and rural samples based on the survey methodology. However, an interview
methodology, described in Appendix A, was substituted for the written survey.
Iquitos is located in Northeast Peru (Figure 3-2). It is the largest city in the Loreto
province, which is the largest province in the country. Iquitos is very much a frontier
town in the sense that it is relatively isolated from the rest of the country. There are no
roads connecting Iquitos to any other large city, and the only ways to reach the city are by
plane, boat, or foot. It would be fair to classify Iquitos as an island surrounded by a sea of
humid tropical forest. The only exposure that the young adults in the city would have to
other forest types would be through travel, classroom materials, and television, which are
primarily restricted to the more wealthy. Iquitos has a remarkable history, including its
major development during the South American rubber boom. Much of the city's
architecture is vestigial to that time period.
Identifying the Sampling Frame
The target populations for the survey were school children of two distinct grade
levels that approximated the 7th and 11th grades in the school system of the United States,
which represented 12 to 13-year-old and 16 to 17-year-old students. Only school children
who lived in the city of Iquitos were included in the sampling frame. All schools servicing
Figure 3-2 Map Of Peru Highlighting the City of Iquitos. This map was modified from
children from the city of Iquitos were included in the frame. The two main school types in
Peru are primary and secondary. Primary school contains six grade levels, beginning
roughly at age 6 and continuing through age 11; secondary schools contain five grade
levels (lst-5th grades) and begin roughly at age 12 and extend through age 16-17. To be
equivalent to the Florida Study, 2nd graders and 5th graders in secondary school were
chosen as the sample age groups.
A list of schools in the city of Iquitos and in villages along riverways near the city
was obtained from the Ministry of Education in Iquitos. The city of Iquitos is divided into
districts, the two largest of which are Iquitos proper and Punchana. The sampling frame
was restricted to Iquitos proper due to time limitations of the study. Fourteen schools
were identified from the school list to represent the sampling frame for the study (Table 3-
1). The estimated total number of students in the sample population was 6885 (3944 12
to 13-year-olds; 2941 16 to 17-year-olds).
School students were chosen for sampling due to their ease of accessibility. This
excludes any young adults who did not matriculate during the academic year in which the
study was conducted. There is some indication by an unpublished study from UNICEF
that the rate of matriculation may be as low as 50% in Iquitos. The UNICEF study
engaged matriculated students in the project by giving each school child a one-page survey
form/information sheet and instructing her/him, if possible, to identify someone in their
neighborhood who was about their age but not matriculated during this academic year.
All non-matriculated students encountered were asked to complete the one-page survey.
The survey asked whether the student had ever been enrolled in school and, if so, why
Table 3-1 A List of the Sampling Frame of 14 Secondary Schools in Iquitos, Peru
School School Abbreviation Second Grade 5th Grade
# of # of total avg.# # of # of total avg. #
morning afternoon students/ morning afternoon students/
classes classes class classes classes class
Republica de Venezuela
Colegio Nacional de Iquitos
Colegio Corpus Cristi*
Colegio Sagrado Corazon
Colegio de la Fuerza Aerea del Peru (FAP)*
Colegio San Martin de Porres
Colegio 61004 (sin nombre)
Colegio Mariscal Andres Avelino Cacares*
Colegio Rosa. A. Donayre
Colegio Plaza 28 de Julio*
Colegio San Augustine*
* Private Schools
they were not enrolled during this year. Every student who participated in the study found
another young adult in the community who was not matriculated. It is not uncommon for
students to matriculate one year and not the next because of fluctuations in family income,
and the UNICEF study confirmed that the primary reason for non-matriculation was lack
of family funds. This suggests that the sampling frame might only represent half of the
young adults in Iquitos within the two age groups.
The Administrative Permission Process
In general, the permission process consisted of talking with the director at each
school. The directors were generally receptive to the idea and interested in facilitating.
With director approval, the permission process was completed. During the first visit to
each school, it was possible to coordinate a time to return and conduct the survey and
interviews (Appendix A). Most of the teachers were not informed of the visit.
One of the military schools required additional paperwork from the Ministry of
Education, which was obtained. In this school, the study was conducted during break
periods to not disrupt the classroom lessons.
Randomizing the Sample
The Peruvian sample could be randomized because a distinct sampling frame was
created from which to draw a sample. A stratified random sample design was chosen
because the participants naturally clustered in classes. The director at each school
provided the number of classes per grade taught during the day and the approximate
number of students per class. From this number, it was determined that a sampling design
with one class per school per grade would generate a sufficient sample size of an estimated
800 students. A random numbers table was used to select the individual classes that
would be visited in each school. In the schools with both morning and afternoon sessions,
the randomization process included all the classes in the random selection. Some schools
were visited in the morning session and others were visited in the afternoon session
depending on what class number was selected. Again, this required a high degree of
flexibility on the part of the school directors who, in all cases, understood the
randomization procedures and were open to either morning or afternoon sampling.
Randomization was facilitated by the lack of teacher involvement and the flexibility
of the school directors, who provided the carte blanche to enter their school at whatever
time the research dictated.
The Contact Situations
While the first contact situation of the study was conducted in Peru, the plan of
introduction had been formulated during the survey pilot testing in Florida. The
wardrobe for all contact situations was determined in Peru with the first contact situation.
The school visits progressed similarly to what is described above. However, there are a
few potentially important notes from the contact situations.
The survey took the Peruvian participants longer than the Floridians: an average of
16 minutes for the older students and 22 minutes for the younger students. Unfamiliarity
with survey taking and a propensity for discussion during the survey process may have led
to increased times. Despite this, there were students who finished in under 8 minutes,
which paralleled the fastest students in Florida. It was difficult to keep the participants in
the public schools from speaking to one another during the surveying and, even though it
was stressed that there were no right or wrong answers, the desire to be socially consistent
led a number of students to work together on the survey. There were occasionally surveys
handed in by two participants who had been working together that were identical in
responses. As the unit of analysis in this study was the individual participant, these
surveys were marked and eliminated from analysis. The number of surveys eliminated
because of discussion between participants varied between schools. Forty-two surveys
were eliminated, representing approximately 5% of the sample.
Here the people of Iquitos are rich in glory and we have a diversity of plants that we don't know
how to care for and, like the irresponsible people that we are, we allow foreigners to come to our
city and enter our forests to study and take back with them an enormous quantity of the diverse
species of plants that exist in our forest.
Peruvian 17-year-old female
I love forests and hope to visit all of the tropical rainforests of the world.
Floridian 12-year-old female
The primary methodological tool of the study was a written survey instrument
developed by the principal investigator. This chapter deals with the measurement tool and
the methods used to strengthen the validity of the survey instrument in both the English
and Spanish versions. Reliability and validity are the two most important characteristics to
consider in the development of any survey (Kosecoff and Fink 1982). An instrument is
reliable if it provides consistent measurements, and it is valid if it yields accurate
information (Kosecoff and Fink 1982). The final English and Spanish survey instruments
are Appendix C and D, respectively. Data entry and coding are presented at the end of the
All components of the written survey were influenced by an exploratory study to
identify the range of forest perceptions of North-Central Floridians (Monroe et al. 1998).
Semi-structured interviews surrounding a simple pile sort of "forest" photographs
provided the participants the freedom to elaborate and identify the scope of their beliefs
about forests. The goal of the exploratory study was to identify areas of interest for
further systematic study. The exploratory study qualitatively suggested a multidimensional
structure of forest attitudes.
Developing the Attitude Statements for the Survey Instrument
Individual attitude statements about forests were developed that fit within Kellert's
seven attitude categories: utilitarian, dominionistic, negativistic, scientific, naturalistic,
humanistic, and moralistic (Table 1-1). Some of the questions were modifications of
previous attitude surveys provided by Stephen Kellert, Susan Jacobson, Jim Armstrong,
Taylor Stein, and the NEP scale. Other questions were unique to this survey. Of all
statements developed, sixty were considered adequate identifiers of the forest attitude
Content validity is concerned with whether a measurement tool actually measures
what it is supposed to measure (Bernard 1995). To ensure content validity, the questions
developed for the attitude scales were grouped by attitude category and sent to experts
outside the University of Florida for validation.
Two experts were selected for content validity. One was an anthropologist in the
Peruvian Amazon and the other was a researcher who studies attitude validation processes
(Armstrong and Hutchins 1996). Both investigators were asked whether a question would
measure the concept with which it was associated. Neither had seen a copy of the
instrument or the questions prior to receiving the content validity form.
For each statement, the content validators were asked to mark if the statement fell
within the selected attitude domain. Only those questions that were considered by both
reviewers to fit within an attitude domain were kept, all others were eliminated. This
reduced the attitude statement pool from 60 to 55, which represented almost eight
questions per attitude domain. For the purposes of pilot testing the survey, four questions
per attitude category were selected to create the forest attitude section of the survey. The
decision about which questions to put in the pilot tests was made based on comments from
the two experts.
Some of the attitude questions were reversed in direction to ensure that
participants were actually reading the survey rather than simply marking without
consideration. For example, the statement "I like trees" could also be measured with the
statement "I do not like trees," though the polarity would be reversed. The direction of
each individual statement was randomly determined.
Developing the Other Components of the Survey Instrument
Forest attitudes were not the only area of interest on the survey instrument. As
mentioned in Chapter 2, a number of attitude studies dealing with the broad range of
topics under the aegis of the environment have attempted to isolate the most important
explanatory variables for environmental attitudes. Other components of the survey were
developed to measure previously identified variables that have been shown to influence
attitudes (e.g., level of knowledge, gender, grade level/age) and others relating specifically
to forests. In all cases, the order of the statements within each question was randomized
using a random numbers table to prevent subconscious experimenter bias.
This section was created for two reasons: to provide a measure of internal
reliability and to explore the perceived benefits of local versus tropical forests in the
Floridian sample. As the importance of the forest benefit increases, so should the attitude
most closely associated with the benefit. This provides a degree of internal stability to the
survey. That is, the attitude domains would be triangulated by a measure that should
represent the attitudes in the expressive "action" of associating with attitude-relevant
The forest benefit section was also created to compare the importance of Florida
forests to tropical rainforests in the Floridian sample. There has been an increasing
emphasis in the popular media and educational units about the importance of the tropical
rainforests. The initial exploratory study indicated that there might be a distinction
between the importance local, natural forests and tropical rainforests in the minds of the
young adults, with tropical rainforests being held in greater esteem.
The forest benefit section consisted of six questions, each of which could be
associated with an attitude domains (please see Chapter 6). The question asked how
important each of the forest benefits were to the participant and were measured on a 5-
point Likert-type scale anchored by "not at all" and "very much."
Perceived Forest Renewability
A measure of perceived forest renewability was important yet problematic to
develop. A relationship might exist between the perceived renewability of an object and
the attitudes towards its use. Measuring perceived forest renewability began as a modified
semantic differential scale, with "non-renewable" and "very renewable" as the anchors and
seven blank-line answer choices in between. This format was misunderstood by many
pilot test participants. As the numeric format was understood, the seven blank spaces
were replaced with a 7-point scale, though only the two anchors were given titles.
The participants were asked to rate the renewability of four items: trees, tropical
rainforests, local natural forests (Florida and Peru specific), and pine plantations. The
placement of each item in the question was randomly determined.
Items measuring knowledge about forests were included because knowledge is one
component of attitudes. However, this measure is perhaps the most contentious. Unlike
attitude studies of specific national parks (e.g., Fiallo and Jacobson 1995) in which the
knowledge measured was site specific, measuring knowledge of "forests" by nature is
more general. The more general the measurement object, the more difficult it is to claim
validity of measurement using a small number of items combined into a single-measure
This scale was developed using nine questions with three response categories: true,
false, don't know. The "don't know" option gave the participants a way to avoid random
The nine questions broadly reflect forest ecosystem knowledge: ecosystem
process, anatomical specifics, and photosynthesis. These questions were content validated
with professors and graduate students in the School of Forest Resources and
Conservation. One method of increasing the knowledge scale validity is to run
confirmatory analysis on the scale. It would be expected that knowledge increases with
age; if knowledge scores are significantly higher in the older age group than the younger
group, then there is some evidence for an adequate knowledge measure (please see
Attitudes and behaviors are thought to be linked. This section was included to
relate the forest attitudes to behavioral variables such as: "How often do you speak to
your family and friends about the environment?" Five other modest behaviors that vary in
their likelihood and might be related to one or more of the attitude domains were included.
The behavior questions were measured on a 4-point scale: never, rarely,
A section on forest characteristics was included to address the first study objective
of what is connoted by the term "forest." This section consisted of 13 characteristics
generated from the results of the exploratory study. The linkage between the
characteristic and a "forest" was measured on a 5-point scale anchored with "not at all"
and "very much." The interviews presented in Appendix A complement this survey
The demographics reported in the literature to affect environmental attitudes
include gender, age, and ethnicity. These three variables were measured in the Florida
sample; ethnicity was omitted from the Peruvian survey because pilot testing suggested
that the responses lacked validity. Additional variables were included to explore the
determinants of forest attitudes. The self-reported time that the participant spent in a
forest was measured on a 6-point scale: never, a few times per year, a few times per
month, 1-2 times/wk, 3-5 times/wk, everyday. The Floridian participants were asked if
they had been to a tropical rainforest and where. Only those who answered "yes" and
correctly identified a tropical forest were coded as affirmative. In Peru, students were
asked if they felt ecotourism had been a good thing for the area of Iquitos, with a "don't
know" response category for those who were unsure or ambivalent.
Pilot Testing the Survey in Florida
The pilot test process increased the validity of the survey instrument. This section
describes the pilot test process and goals but omits the actual pilot test results. The final
survey was improved from the results of the pilot tests. Several methods were used to
pilot test the survey: a first exploration with college students, classroom group
discussions, and personal interviews. There were two classroom pilot tests conducted in
Florida, with modifications made to the overall survey after each pilot test. In addition to
the group pilot tests, in-depth interviews were conducted with four students in the target
Twenty-nine college students and adults volunteered to take the survey, provide
initial feedback about the survey items, and help determine if the attitude items identified
different attitude domains. This test cannot be considered a pilot test because it was not
conducted with members of the target population. Because there was uncertainty about
how people would react to the specific questions and statements, the focus of this
evaluation was on interpretation rather than understanding. The purpose was to present
the survey to people older than the target age so the issue of survey understanding would
not be in question, which would allow the exploration of reactance to the survey, and to
elicit responses about the manner in which questions were presented. The sample was
composed of 16 women and 13 men. The college students were drawn from three
graduate-level classes: Ecotourism Planning and Management, Ecological Economics, and
Field Methods in Tropical Conservation and Development. Each of these classes arguably
attracts more environmentally aware and/or concerned students than the average student
body. The literature reports that college education, whatever the discipline, tends to result
in greater environmental concern (Kellert 1996).
The adults were administered the survey one on one and each had the opportunity
to comment on the survey. Each of these three surveys lasted approximately 1 hour. For
the college students, the survey was administered to individuals in a classroom setting.
The students were asked to comment on the survey by first completing the survey, then
making written suggestions on the survey itself.
Two pilot tests were conducted with members of the target audience. One school
in Gainesville, the P.K. Young Developmental Research School, was selected for the pilot
because its affiliation with the University of Florida meant that the administrative
permission process did not require approval at the county level.
The first pilot test was conducted with four 7th grade classes. This test was
designed to be conducted in a manner similar to how the experimental samples would be
treated. The main purpose of the test was to identify problem questions in the survey,
look for areas of poor question understanding and identify the participants' general
impressions. This test was also designed to explore the influence of different
introduction/presentation styles on the students. Several different introductions were
practiced to see which format elicited the most survey-friendly response1. All students
were instructed to circle any words or concepts that they did not understand, a more
reliable technique for identifying problems than group discussion given the probable
influence of peer pressure. Group discussions followed the survey to explore how the
survey was interpreted and elicit the students' general impressions of the survey.
Modifications were made to the survey questions and statements based on the results of
the pilot test. Also, preliminary factor analysis and Chronbach's alpha reliability analysis
were conducted on the attitude statements to determine if the attitude questions created
Kellert's 7-domain typology as predicted. The pilot test suggested that the questions were
being understood, the attitude scales were reasonably consistent (but with domain
overlap), and the method of introduction had little influence on the overall scores. This
version of the survey instrument was translated into Spanish.
The second pilot test was conducted with one 6th grade class and two 11th grade
classes using a survey instrument modified from the previous pilot test. In addition to
testing item wording and interpretation, this test explored the potential differences
between a 3-point response scale and the more traditional 5-point response scale for the
attitude questions. Half of the participants in each grade level completed the survey with a
3-point scale and half answered with a 5-point scale. Post-survey discussions focused on
problematic questions and on their interpretation. Students in the third pilot test were
' With four classes, there were four introduction styles: (1) principal investigator introduced with a
pro-conservation message; (2) principal investigator introduced with a pro-development message;
(3) principal investigator introduced with a no-explicit-cues introduction; (4) teacher introduced
with a no-explicit-cues introduction.
asked to circle any words, phrases, statements, or questions that they did not understand.
General results from this test were that the survey was understood well and that the 5-
point scale was understood by the students equally well as the 3-point scale.
Pilot Test Interviews
Four in-depth interviews were conducted with students in the target age groups:
12, 13, and two 16 year old students. All interviews were conducted between the first
and second pilot tests so the resultant survey modifications could be tested on a larger
sample. The interviews with the two younger students were conducted together for
logistical reasons; the two interviews with the two older students, one female and one
male, were conducted independently. Each interview lasted approximately two hours.
The main focus of the interviews was to have the students describe how they interpreted
each attitude statement, and to pilot test a group of photographs to be used in the
interview methodology (please see Appendix A). The interviews began with the attitude
statements. The students' general impressions were that the attitude statements were easy
to understand. Most questions were interpreted consistently and as had been expected.
Items whose interpretation was problematic were reworded with the help of the
Translating the Survey
Perhaps the largest threat to the statistical appropriateness of the attitude
comparison between Floridians and Peruvians was Translation Validity. That is, are the
attitude statements interpreted in the same way by all participants regardless of language?
This consideration was paramount to the study's validity and, as a result, the process of
translating the survey was treated with substantial care.
Survey translation began during the Florida pilot testing of the survey. The draft
used for translation was the one administered to the first pilot test group. Although this
was not the final English version, both versions were altered as improvements were made.
Using this draft of the survey subjected more question than would eventually be used to
the translation process because it was unclear what questions would be in the final survey.
There were three new questions added between this draft version and the final version of
the survey, and their translation is dealt with below.
A front/back method of translation is typically used to validate the translation. In
this method, the original version is translated to the second language and then back
translated to the original language, yielding two copies in the original language. This
identifies the places where the language nuances compromised the message interpretation.
For this survey, a dual front/back translation methodology was chosen to increase
its accuracy (Figure 4-1). The survey was translated independently by two graduate
students who neither had any other connection with the study nor saw the survey before
translating it. The two graduate students' native language was Spanish. One translator
was from Peru, the other was from Paraguay. To overcome the potential bias of gender,
one translator was male and the other female.
The Spanish versions were then put into a format similar to the original English
version, and the three surveys compared. Interestingly, the key differences between the
\ \ I I
\ I I
Figure 4-1 Model of the Dual Front-Back Translation Process. The final English and
Spanish versions were influenced by all five translations.
two translated versions were primarily stylistic rather than content based, with the
exception of a few vocabulary word choices. The translators commented that capturing
the "essence" of the meaning in the translation was difficult. One translator frequently
offered two translations of the same statement: the literal translation and the translation
that captured the essence of the question or sounded better in Spanish. Both translators
suggested that the word "love" has different meanings to people in the United States and
Latin America, and that questions containing the word "love" may be biased because of
the cultural difference in meaning.
Without modifying either of the two Spanish versions, each version was then back-
translated by two graduate students from the United States, both of whose native language
was English. One back-translator was female and the other was male. The female was
given the translation completed by the male, the male was given the translation completed
by the female.
The two back-translated surveys were then compared to the original survey in
form, content, and meaning. The knowledge, benefits, behavior, and characteristics
questions were fairly straightforward, and the translations yielded similar results. The
attitude questions, because of the issue of specific meaning, were more problematic. The
five versions of the survey, the original, two Spanish translations, and two English back-
translations were then used to critically examine the attitude statements.
Where the two lines of translation resulted in the same back-translation that also
matched the original wording, the Spanish wording of the Peruvian translator was used as
these word choices might more closely match the vocabulary of the target audience.
Three questions were translated by the principal investigator and confirmed with
another Peruvian student. They were added to the survey as a result of the pilot testing
process. The modifications to the Spanish version were informed by the translation
process. The Spanish version also underwent a validating series of pilot tests.
Pilot Testing the Survey in Peru
The Spanish version of the written survey was pilot tested in Iquitos on a small
sample of the target population. From this sampling frame (please see Chapter 3), one
school was chosen to pilot test the survey because there was only one class per grade level
and the number of students in each class was relatively low. Therefore, the pilot test
would not significantly reduce the experimental sample size. This school was also
relatively isolated from the other schools, which avoided biasing the survey by not alerting
other students to the study.
The pilot test was conducted similarly to the actual survey. The standard
introduction was given and the survey administered. Students were asked to circle any
words or phrases that they did not understand. As the students responded to the survey,
they were asked to mention anything they did not understand. The students in both
classes were engaging and open about questions that were confusing. When everyone
finished, the students reviewed the confusing parts of the survey and how they interpreted
the questions, and explained how the questions could be better worded.
This inquiry was further augmented via personal interviews with four students
from each grade level, lasting approximately 20 minutes each. The main purpose of the
interviews was to investigate how the students interpreted the attitude statements.
Because the interviews occurred after the classroom pilot tests, many of the suggestions
from the interviews had been made during the group discussions.
Modifications were made to the survey based on the suggestions made in the focus
groups and the attitude statement interpretations from the personal interviews. The major
change to the survey was to measure Perceived Forest Renewability on a point scale.
There were also a few word choice modifications made to attitude statements.
A final version of the English survey was created from the Florida pilot test
process and modified with improvements from the Spanish pilot test. The English and
Spanish versions of the survey are Appendices C and D, respectively. Table 4-1 shows the
number of questions in the final survey instrument. Two attitude statements in the English
version dealt with fire and were Florida-specific. The demographics sections differed
between English and Spanish versions, though the number of questions was the same. The
final question in the survey was an open-ended opportunity for the participants to write
anything else they wanted to add about their feelings about forests.
Data Entry, Coding, and Analysis
All surveys were entered into a computer spreadsheet in unmodified form and
double-checked to eliminate the possibility of data entry error. The attitude statements
that were reversed in polarity to reduce response bias in the survey were coded to yield
consistent measures for analysis. The attitude statements were structured so that larger
responses represented agreement with the attitude. The data were analyzed primarily
using SPSS software (version 8.0) and Sigma Plot (version 2.0).
Table 4-1 Number of Questions in the Final English and Spanish Surveys.
Section English Spanish
Attitude Statements 33 31
Native forest 6 6
Tropical forest 6 0
Knowledge 9 9
Behavior 6 6
Forest Characteristics 13 13
Demographics 11 11
Total Number of Questions 84 76
I have woods and they are really nice. I would love to go to a forest. FOREST: many different
trees, bigger, many more different animals. WOODS: many different trees, smaller, smaller
variety of animals.
Floridian 13-year-old female
I want to say that forests are very beautiful and that people should take care of them and not
destroy them because trees are the lungs of the earth.
Peruvian 17-year-old male
This chapter outlines the sample demographics and other explanatory variables that
will be used in later analyses. Further, multivariate analytical techniques are presented and
used address the first study objective to explore forest perceptions using the forest
characteristic survey question.
The total sample size for the study was 1231, with 58.4% (n=719) in Peru and
41.6% (n=512) in Florida (Table 5-1). In the younger age group, there were more
females than males in the Floridian sample, but equal numbers between genders in the
Peruvian sample. In the older age group, there were slightly more females than males in
the Floridian sample, but more males than females in the Peruvian sample. Overall, there
were more females in the sample than males, and there were more younger students than
There were 630 (51.9%) females and 584 (48.1%) males, with 17 non-responses
(Table 5-1). Significantly more males were in the Peruvian sample; more females were
in the Floridian sample (Table 5-2).
The younger grade (x=12.96 years old, SD= 0.8991) comprised 54.3% (n=669) of
the sample; the older grade (x=16.39 years old, SD=0.8805) comprised 45.7% (n=562) of
the sample (Table 5-2). There was no significant difference between the numbers of
younger and older students by region (Table 5-3).
Time Spent in a Forest
Environmental educators assume that experience forms awareness and breaks
down perception barriers, and that awareness forms attitudes that influence preferences
and behaviors. This variable measured how often the participants spent time in a forest,
which is a behavior that may influence attitudes, but that may also be influenced by
attitudes. Figure 5-1 shows the frequency distribution of responses by region. There
seemed to be a distinction between those who spent time in a forest on a weekly basis
and those who did not. The 6 response categories were collapsed to two by combining
"never," "a few times per year," and "a few times per month" to create a "not weekly"
Table 5-1 Basic Demographics for Florida and
287 Florida Male:
343 Peru Male:
630 Total Male:
221 Total Florida Sample:
363 Total Peru Sample:
584 Total Samole Size:
Table 5-2 Descriptive Analysis of Sex by Region
n % n %
Region Peru Observed 343 48.6 363 51.4
Expected 366 340
Florida Observed 287 56.5 221 43.5
Expected 264 244
Chi-Squared df p
7.409 1 0.006
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
Table 5-3 Descriptive Analysis of Age by Region
n % n %
Region Peru Observed 394 54.8 325 45.2
Expected' 391 328
Florida Observed 275 53.7 237 46.3
Expected' 278 234
Chi-Squared df p
0.143 1 0.706
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the X2 statistic.
category, and combining "1-2 per week," "3-5 times per week," and "daily" to create a
"weekly" category. This produced comparable sample distributions between regions
(Table 5-4), with just over twenty percent of the entire sample saying they spend time in
a forest on at least a weekly basis.
Perceived Forest Renewability
Based on the sample distribution and discussions with participants, the perceived
forest renewability variable was collapsed into three response categories for analysis.
(Figure 5-2). Through discussion with the Peruvian and Floridian students, there was a
clear distinction between "non-renewable" and "very renewable," though collapsing a 7-
point scale into a dichotomous variable did not seem appropriate because a third
grouping, a "somewhat renewable" category, was also elaborated in discussion. The
major distinction between regions is that the majority of Peruvians considered forests to
be very renewable, while Floridians were more moderate (Table 5-5), with 38.6% of the
Florida sample considering forests non-renewable.
The knowledge questions were converted to dichotomous responses by combining
the incorrect response category and the "don't know" category, and given the value "0."
The correct responses received a score of "1."
With two response categories, probability suggests that 50% of the correct
answers could be obtained by random guessing. This holds even with a "don't know"
never few times/month
Time Spent in a Forest
Figure 5-1 Self-reported Time Spent in a Forest by Region. In both groups, there is a
distinction between the first three and last three response categories.
Table 5-4 Descriptive Analysis of Self-Reported Time Spent in a Forest by Region
Time Spent in Forest
n % n %
Region Peru Observed 526 73.2 172 23.9
Expected 535 163
Florida Observed 395 77.1 109 21.3
Expected 386 118
Chi-Squared df p
1.485 1 0.223
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis
and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
Table 5-5 Descriptive Analysis of Perceived Local Forest Renewability
Perceived Forest Renewability
non- somewhat very
renewable renewable renewable
n % n % n %
Region Peru Observed 77 12.0 185 28.9 378 59.1
Expected' 151 245 245
Florida Observed 189 38.6 247 50.4 54 11.0
Expected' 115 187 187
Chi-Squared df p
284.15 2 <0.001
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
Non-renewable 3 5 Very renewable
2 4 6
Perceived Forest Renewability
Figure 5-2 Frequency of Responses to Perceived Renewability of Local Forests. This
distribution was collapsed into a 3-response variable based on this distribution and
discussions with the students. Category 6 and "very renewable" were united; "Non-
renewable" and category 2 were united to balance. Also, there seemed to be
categorization of non-renewable and very renewable. Categories 3, 4, and 5 were united.
Peruvian participants tended to consider their local forests highly renewable, while the
Floridian participants tended to consider their local forests non-renewable to somewhat
category because only those who marked "true"or "false" might be guessing; those who
marked "don't know" were not guessing. As a result, it remains appropriate to collapse
"don't know" with the incorrect response because the participant concedes not knowing,
and the probability of correctly answering the questions remains at 50% in any case of
random guessing. As a result, a dichotomous knowledge score was created with "low
knowledge"= 0-5 correct responses and "high knowledge"= 6-9 correct responses.
It was expected that older students would be more knowledgeable than younger
students (Chapter 4). Confirmatory chi-square analysis showed older students scored
significantly higher than younger students in Florida and Peru (Tables 5-6 and 5-7,
The Floridians tended to answer the knowledge questions more correctly than the
Peruvian participants (Table 5-8, Figure 5-3), which may be an outcome of the inherent
bias in a question that was designed by a North American and may be more knowledge-
relevant to North American students.
In some cases, the Peruvian participants scored higher on individual questions
(Figure 5-4). More Peruvians (48.6%) than Floridians (34.3%) knew that xylem conducts
water from the roots to the leaves of plants. More Peruvians than Floridians knew that
temperate forests were not as biologically diverse as tropical forests (35.1% and 25.6%,
respectively). Considering the recent educational emphasis in the United States on the
biological diversity of the tropical rainforests, this result seems remarkable.
Well over half of the participants in both regions knew that the majority of flowers
contain both male and female parts (59.3% in Florida, 60.2% in Peru), that photosynthesis
uses carbon dioxide and produces oxygen (67.1% in Florida, 60.3% in Peru), and that a
dead tree remains important in an ecosystem (81.5% in Florida, 61.7% in Peru). Over half
of the Florida sample also knew that producers were organisms that converted light
energy into food (53.7%) and that insects do not have 8 legs (68.1%). On the other hand,
fewer than one quarter of the participants knew the major part of the mass of a tree does
not come from the soil (25.1% in Florida, 11.8% in Peru). It is possible that this question
was confusing to and misinterpreted by the Peruvian participants: while 54% of the
Florida sample marked the "don't know" category, 57% of the Peruvian sample marked
the incorrect response.
While the overall knowledge scores were fairly low, certain questions were
answered correctly by a majority of students in both regions. Further, the bell-shaped
distributions and the higher scores in the older population suggest a reasonable knowledge
scale (Figure 5-3).
Talking with Family or Friends about the Environment
Peruvians reported talking more frequently with their family and friends about the
environment than Floridians (Table 5-9). However, the overall pattern for both samples
was consistent, with most (77.2% in Peru, 71.7% in Florida) reporting rarely or
sometimes talking about the environment. Almost one-fifth of the Floridian sample
reported never talking with their family or friends about the environment.
Table 5-6 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Age in the Florida Sample.
n % n %
Age 12 to 13-year-olds Observed 238 86.5 37 13.5
Expected 192 83
16 to 17-year-olds Observed 119 50.0 118 50.0
Expected 165 72
Chi-Squared df p
79.614 1 <0.001
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
Table 5-7 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Age in the Peruvian Sample.
n % n %
Age 12 to 13-year-olds Observed 366 92.9 28 7.1
Expected' 341 53
16 to 17-year-olds Observed 256 78.8 69 21.2
Expected' 281 44
Chi-Squared df p
30.442 1 <0.001
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
Table 5-8 Descriptive Analysis of Knowledge Score by Region.
n % n %
Region Peru Observed 622 86.5 97 13.5
Expected' 572 147
Florida Observed 357 69.7 155 30.3
Expected' 407 105
Chi-Squared df p
51.735 1 <0.001
a Expected count assumes the null hypothesis and is used to calculate the x2 statistic.
0_ F Florida
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Number of Correct Responses
Figure 5-3 Number of Correct Knowledge Questions By Region. Bell curves resulted
in each region, though the mean of the Floridian sample was statistically higher than the
mean of the Peruvian sample (x[Florida]=4.46; x[Peru]=3.57; t=8.364, df=1129,