Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract Full Text

An alien lizard invasion that must be stopped or the more the merrier? That's a matter of opinion...

Abstract

This study used a technique called Q-methodology (an interactive questionnaire of sorts) to explore social perceptions towards the presence of wall lizards (Podarcis muralis), a species introduced to the UK from continental Europe. We explored the ways in which different stakeholder groups (i.e., public, land managers and conservationists) agreed and differed in their views and how subjective influences affected the opinions between groups. How and why do stakeholders share/differ in their opinions towards the lizard introduction and what does the discourse in this case study tell us about perceptions and attitudes towards management of introduced species more generally were asked. It was shown that there were three clearly defined viewpoints from the study that reflected both differences and similarities in stakeholder opinion towards the species' introduction. Whereas two of the three viewpoints were defined from each other solely by differences in levels of ecological knowledge and concerns over impact uncertainty, the third group had very different opinions that appeared to be reflective of pronounced variation between the groups' deeper beliefs, perceptions and values about "naturalness and balance", and overall relationship with nature. Such insight will be useful in identifying discordant attitudes and areas of potential contention between stakeholders that may arise in consideration of management decisions regarding non-native species more widely. In addition, the analysis will also help illustrate how people reason their subjective views regarding complex ecological concepts in general.