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The Social Value of Bird Conservation

Forest management can enhance ecosystem services and protect species diversity by enhancing habitat for wildlife. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29% since 1970 because of growing environmental pressures. Since most (70%) forests in Pennsylvania are privately owned, managing forests requires public and landowner participation and a better understanding of agency leaders. The social value of bird conservation was explored using a statewide web survey that collected panel responses from 690 randomly selected persons in Pennsylvania. The survey contained Likert scales and a choice experiment with 8 programs. Data were analyzed using mixed logistic regression and descriptive statistics. Findings indicate a wide variation in people’s knowledge and positive attitudes towards birds. Early analysis suggests that habitat improvement programs generate a positive WTP indicating that public investment in bird conservation on private lands is a legitimate strategy for enhancing public welfare.