Adoption-diffusion of wildlife management innovations by nonindustrial private forestland owners

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Virginia Tech


An experiential forest and wildlife management training program, based on the adoption-diffusion model, was conducted for 49 nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) owners. Participant-owners were surveyed 6 months after their training to monitor adoption and diffusion activity. Owners who were nominated by local natural resources professionals adopted significantly more management innovations than those owners not nominated. Farmers demonstrated the most adoption and diffusion activity, business people the least. Farmers and business people were more oriented towards timber production objectives than others, professionals were more oriented towards wildlife management objectives.

An a priori developed predictive opinion-leadership model was not correlated with either adoption or diffusion activity. Owners living less than 8 km from their tract spent significantly more time in dissemination efforts than others, as did those who had voluntarily stated an intrinsic motivation to "share what they learned" upon application to the project. Those owners who had gained extensive knowledge from past contact with natural resource professionals were significantly more active in adoption-diffusion activity than others, and those with self-perceived high interpersonal skills engaged significantly more peer owners in diffusion efforts than did others. Size of forest ownership, time residing in a community, primary objectives for owning forestland, and number of local leadership positions held had no significant effect upon adoption diffusion activity by NIPF owners. A significant and negative correlation was found between an owner's self-perceived level of education and one-onone diffusion outreach activity. NIPF owners were generally ambivalent about involvement in informal resource management clubs. It is suggested that future educational projects conducted for NIPF owners be scheduled for late winter or spring versus the fall season, particularly if a short (6 mo.) monitoring of adoption and diffusion activity is a constraint. This investigator hypothesizes that the same methodology used in this study of adoption-diffusion behavior of NIPF owners would be effective in instructing opinion-leading, professional change agents about adoption diffusion theory and techniques.