Master of Science (MS)
First Advisor's Name
Joel T. Heinen
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
David B. Bray
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Protected Areas, National Wildlife Refuge, Military to Wildlife Conversion, Attitudes, Percpetions, Social Science, Knowledge, Awareness, Park-People Conflicts, Environmental Studies
Date of Defense
Conflicts between local people and protected areas can undermine conservation goals. This study explores perceptions towards Vieques National Wildlife Refuge (VNWR), a complex former military site containing a combination of high ecological value along with an array of unexploded ordnances. The purpose of this research is to evaluate how residents perceive VNWR and elucidate conflicts associated with former and current uses of the wildlife refuge. Here, I interviewed 235 residents of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico using semi-structured surveys and 33 key informants representing various stakeholder groups to assess attitudes toward VNWR.
A combination of factors influencing attitudes about VNWR included socio-economic status and misconceptions about management. Overall, residents did not express strong attitudes. However, older individuals and those living longer on Vieques generally had poorer attitudes than others. Among the most common reasons for expressing discontent were the restrictive regulations regarding access to VNWR and the limitations on resource extraction.
Guzman, Ana C., "A Study on Residents' Perceptions and Attitudes Towards the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico" (2016). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2434.