Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Emotions as drivers of wildlife stewardship behavior: examining citizen science nest monitors' responses to invasive house sparrows.

Abstract

Growing evidence suggests wildlife stewardship behaviors might be affected by emotional dispositions toward particular species. To test this hypothesis, we studied wildlife management choices made by backyard citizen scientists (N=448) involved in two North American bird nest monitoring projects. Our exploratory study characterized nest monitors' efforts to manage invasive house sparrows, which compete with native songbirds for nesting sites, and examined the relative influence of cognitive and affective factors on management orientations. Results revealed that nearly all respondents engaged in some form of house sparrow management, and most respondents favored a combination of lethal and non-lethal management approaches. Core affect, emotional dispositions, and experiential variables were the primary drivers of citizen scientists' management decisions, with anger toward house sparrows and firsthand contact with house sparrow damage as the strongest positive correlates of lethal management orientations. Findings highlight the potentially powerful influence of affect and emotions on wildlife stewardship actions.