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    Social trust, the willingness to rely on those with formal responsibility to develop policies and make decisions, facilitates effective management of environmental issues, including wildlife management. National polls suggest that the public trusts government agencies to solve environmental problems, yet such trust is low (or non-existent) in areas of controversy, such as the protection of threatened and endangered species. This study explored the role of social trust in understanding views of threatened and endangered species management in the National Forests of southern California. The 127 participants surveyed lived in or near a National Forest or were recreational and/or other users of the National Forest. The results suggest that trust in Forest Service management of wildlife relates to perceived similarity between individual values regarding species protection and Forest Service values. Participants who believe the Forest Service shares their values have a high trust; those who believe the Forest Service does not share their values have a low trust. The most trusting tend to believe that species protection should be the primary principle guiding forest management and that the Forest Service consistently operates according to these principles. Those low in trust believe forest management should be based on the fulfillment of human needs; they perceive that the Forest Service operates inconsistently according to their values. The study suggests that social trust is a significant predictor of approval of species management practices.

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    Cvetkovich, George T.; Winter, Patricia L. 2002. Social trust and the management of threatened and endangered species: A study of communities of interest and communities of place. Res. Paper PSW-RP-247. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 65 p.


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    social trust, threatened and endangered species management, communities of interest, communities of place

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