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    People’s knowledge of birds and the opinions and perceptions about specific issues related to the conservation of birds were quantified in rural and urban communities in northeastern Puerto Rico. Data were collected using questionnaires in interviews with 131 citizens haphazardly selected within the study site. Our results indicate that urban residents had a significantly higher level of education and were more knowledgeable about the bird species in their neighborhoods than residents of rural communities. However, the knowledge of exotic bird species was similar between residents of both communities, with psittacids and finches (Passeridae, Plociedae, Estrildidae) identified as the most common exotics in their neighborhoods. Rural and urban residents also differed in what they considered important threats to birds in their communities. Rural residents mentioned deforestation (44%), urban sprawl (31%), and hunting (25%), whereas urban residents mentioned urban sprawl (48%) and deforestation (44%) as important environmental problems that affect birds. Only 5% of the urban residents mentioned hunting as a factor affecting bird populations. The interviewees also differed significantly in their perception of the effectiveness of conservation laws and regulations. About 58% of rural residents said that laws and regulations were adequate, in contrast to 45% of urban residents who believed that the laws were adequate. Overall, this study showed that the people living in rural and urban communities in northeastern Puerto Rico have little knowledge of birds and had contrasting attitudes and opinions about important issues that affect birds in their communities.

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    Vazquez-Plass, Edgar O.; Wunderle, Jr., Joseph M. 2010. Differences in knowledge about birds and their conservation between rural and urban residents of Puerto Rico. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. 23:93-100.


    bird conservation, citizens’ opinions, conservation knowledge, Puerto Rico, urban gradient

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