Modified landscapes: visitor's perceptions of conservation in a natural reserve invaded by exotic conifers.
Biological invasions are considered a major problem for nature conservation globally. Natural resource managers make immense efforts to control invasions. However, many management strategies depend on public support. In this study, we assessed how recreational users perceive the conservation level of a protected area where the native forest has been altered by the introduction of the fire-adapted Pinus radiata, wildfires and the resulting invasion. We also analyzed how users' definition of exotic species related to their perceptions and support for management actions. We found that 75% of respondents perceived the area to be well conserved, although 76% provided the correct definition for exotic species. Local, overnight and exotic-species knowledgeable users perceived the area's conservation level to be lower than their counterparts. Also, local and knowledgeable people reported more support for management strategies. We interpret that the public's positive perception of a heavily invaded landscape can be linked to bio-cultural homogenization.