Community and Conservation in CaliforniaEPA Grant Number: R825226
Title: Community and Conservation in California
Investigators: Press, Daniel
Institution: University of California - Santa Cruz
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: November 15, 1996 through November 14, 2001
Project Amount: $304,782
RFA: Exploratory Research - Early Career Awards (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Early Career Awards
Description:This project will focus on variations in open-space preservation in California at and below the county level (the dependent variable). Data collected on local open-space preservation demonstrate that locally-led open-space preservation varies widely, from zero acres per thousand county residents to over 200 acres per thousand county residents. Most readily available socioeconomic, political, and demographic indicators are, separately or together, weak predictors of protected acreage.
The central hypothesis of this project is that local social capital strongly affects land conservation outcomes. Using both qualitative (archival and in-depth interview) and quantitative (county resident phone surveys, ballot initiative returns) data, 30 counties will be characterized by their relative degrees of social capital and place attachment. Project hypotheses are:
(1) Counties that are currently most active at protecting local open space also exhibit high levels of social capital among their residents, relative to other counties.
(2) Counties that are currently most active at protecting local open space were also more active in the past, and exhibited high levels of past social capital among their residents, relative to other counties.
(3) Counties that are currently most active at protecting local open space also exhibit high levels of place attachment among their residents, relative to other counties.
Data on social capital will be collected cross-sectionally and longitudinally (1950-1996). Data on place attachment will only be collected cross-sectionally, but will provide a baseline for future, longitudinal studies of place attachment and policy outcomes.
The project will make both academic and policy contributions useful to park managers, legislators, and open space advocates. Academic contributions will include empirically-based insights on the role social capital can play in environmental policy. In the realm of public policy, the results will also contribute to ongoing environmental protection strategies as well as legislative debates concerning local support for new open space districts.