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Demographic and psychographic drivers of public acceptance of novel invasive pest control technologies

Florian Eppink, Economic & Environmental Research
Patrick J. Walsh, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
Edith MacDonald, New Zealand National Science Challenge


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Invasive mammals are a primary threat to New Zealand’s endemic species. In remote areas, aerial delivery of poison is the preferred method of pest management, although it faces some public backlash. Novel pest control technologies are currently being investigated as alternatives but may face similar concerns. To investigate potential social and demographic determinants of public perceptions of new methods for pest control, we conducted a national choice experiment, focused on several novel technologies: gene drives, Trojan females, and species-specific poisons. We found that preferences strongly depend on the type of technology, with Trojan female technology strictly preferred to the other two. Although several characteristics affected preferences in predictable ways—education, trust in science, and liberal political leaning increased acceptance—the same did not hold with preferences for aerial delivery. Our results are useful for targeting future engagement campaigns and leveraging existing efforts.

Key words

choice experiment; genetic editing; invasive species; mixed logit; pest control

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087