• On the willingness-to-pay for Elodea removal in the Fairbanks North Star Borough

      Kaczmarski, Jesse I.; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua; Fix, Peter (2018-05)
      The empirical research conducted herein addresses a public need for the funding of a project that would eradicate Elodea in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB). The eradication project has been outlined and approved by State and Federal agencies and has gathered funding to begin the eradication process. The study aims to develop a mean willingness-to-pay value for survey participants by shifting the funding burden to property tax payers. This body of work includes a primer on Elodea in the borough, an overview of contingent valuation, a parametric approach to willingness-to-pay, and results of the study conducted on Fairbanks property owners. The average willingness-to-pay per survey respondent is $50.32. In addition, 72% of survey respondents voted for the enactment of the program at their proposed cost level. These financial burdens took values of $10, $30, $60, or $120 per year for 4 years to fund the proposed program. A penalized maximum log-likelihood estimation found that the most significant predictors for the likelihood of a yes vote are the respondent's perceived risk to the ecosystem and recreational opportunities. Additionally, the respondents concern for the use of herbicides in the borough to treat the Elodea infestation is highly significant. The high level of prior knowledge throughout the survey indicates that respondents had established view on Elodea prior to the survey.
    • Social dimensions of invasive plant management: an Alaska case study

      Callear, Tara L.; Fix, Pete; Brinkman, Todd; Graziano, Gino (2018-05)
      Uncertainty pervades attempts to identify an efficient management response to the threat of invasive plants. Sources of uncertainty include the paucity of data, measurement errors, variable invasiveness, and unpredictable impacts of the control methods. Rather than relying on this uncertain evidence from the natural sciences, land managers are taking a more participatory approach to invasive plant management to help alleviate risk and share the responsibility of implementation of proactive control and eradication strategies. This research is intended to contribute to this process of social learning by revealing the beliefs that determine stakeholder management preferences in a case study involving an infestation of Vicia cracca (bird vetch) affecting public lands, north of the Arctic Circle, along the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Possible encroachment of this "highly invasive" species upon vulnerable areas of high conservation significance in this rapidly changing, boreal-arctic system has motivated some stakeholders to advocate an aggressive, early response aimed at eradication using herbicides. This case study applies social-psychological theory in the study of the interactions between human behavior and human outcomes. Interior Alaska stakeholders were engaged in a survey to measure support for a scenario involving the use of herbicides to control the highly-invasive species, Vicia cracca (bird vetch), which has spread north along a road corridor north of the Arctic Circle. Respondents were asked a series of questions about the "likelihood" and "acceptability" of the possible outcomes. The survey results aligned with the expectation that attitudes predict management preference, however the beliefs that influence these attitudes were more complicated than expected. The results address the feedbacks anticipated between the human outcomes and human behavior in the social template within the broader system context that are critical to management success. The purpose is to utilize the results of this specific case study to facilitate the development of ongoing research questions that are generalizable to other affected boreal-arctic ecosystems, regionally and globally.