Linking Society and Environment: A Multilevel Model of Shifting Wildlife Value Orientations in the Western United States


  • *Direct correspondence to Michael J. Manfredo, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1480〈〉. Data and coding information are available on request from the authors. This study was sponsored by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). It was funded by participating state agency contributions and through a grant awarded by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) as part of the 2002 Multistate Conservation Grant Program. Thanks to D. Shroufe for his leadership on this effort, L. Kruckenberg, T. Gray, S. Gurtin, and L. Sikorowski for their help with project coordination, and R. Bosworth and R. Frank for their support in helping to secure project funding. The authors additionally thank the following participating state agency representatives who served on the study team and their directors: B. Romberg, C. Jacobson, S. Mastrup, T. Meredith, K. Knoll, M. King, J. Wanger, M. Beucler, M. Mitchener, M. Lewis, R. Brooks, A. Hardin, J. Olson, K. Clark, B. Graves, A. Harmoning, A. Crews, A. Snyder, L. Gigliotti, R. Cantu, D. Dolsen, G. Tsukamoto, M. Cope, C. Burkett, and D. Sheldon. Thanks also to the many students who assisted with data collection and to A. Bright and A. Dayer for their contributions to this study.


Objective. Studies of attitudes and values can make important contributions to emerging multi-level, interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problems. We test a multi-level model using data from a 19-state study on public thoughts toward wildlife in the western United States.

Methods. Data were collected via mail survey administered to residents in each state.

Results. Data support (1) a micro model that proposes values are oriented by two contrasting ideologies—domination versus mutualism—and that these different value orientations lead to different attitudes and behaviors toward wildlife; and (2) a macro model that links forces of modernization (income, education, urbanization) to a population-level shift from domination to mutualism value orientations.

Conclusions. Such a shift would stimulate behavioral, ecological, and institutional effects that are critical in shaping society-environment interactions. Findings suggest that examining human thought processes in relation to broader social and environmental factors holds great promise in extending the application of the social sciences.