Personal Moral Norms and Attitudes Toward Endangered Species Policies on Private Land

Raymond, Leigh; Schneider, Laura U.
March 2014
Conservation & Society;2014, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Research across multiple disciplines has shown that personal moral norms can play an important role in shaping individuals' attitudes and behaviour. Despite this, we know relatively little about patterns of support among landowners for either a personal moral norm favouring a strong, 'intrinsic' right of private ownership, or a moral duty to prevent extinction. In addition, we know even less about the ability of such norms to predict attitudes toward species protection on private lands, especially for non-charismatic species with few qualities that typically generate positive attitudes for conservation. Results from a mail survey of central Indiana landowners suggest broad support for a personal moral norm favouring a strong, 'intrinsic' right of ownership as well as a personal moral norm to prevent extinction, and that these norms are better predictors of attitudes toward endangered species policies than partisan identification, identification as an environmentalist, strong religious beliefs, or several other demographic factors. The results suggest that those seeking to influence landowner attitudes toward species protection policies should pay closer attention to the influence of these personal moral norms.


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