Understanding human attitudes often is vital to the success of restoration projects, especially those involving controversial species such as carnivores. Support for restoration activities may differ depending on residence location of the respondent; thus, understanding the spatial distribution of attitudes is important when selecting suitable restoration sites. We used black bear (Ursus americanus) restoration as an example of how to calculate and use a spatially explicit model of human attitudes based on demographic variables to select restoration sites in Mississippi, USA. We sampled 2 populations (5,975 landowners adjacent to 10 public land areas and a random sample of 490 Mississippians) to determine human attitudes toward black bear reintroduction in Mississippi. We chose a series of reintroduction and demographic questions to develop 2 logistic regression models to predict support for reintroduction, and we validated the models. One model was developed on all demographic variables (how many acres respondents owned in Mississippi and for how long, as well as their age, sex, education, income, community size, and race) to determine the relationship between support for reintroduction and demographic variables. The second model used only age, race, and sex demographic variables. Age, community size, race, sex, and number of years of landownership were significant predictors of support for bear restoration for the first model; and age, race, and sex were significant predictors for the second model. Using the second model and the U.S. Census Bureau (1990) block group data, we predicted the proportion of each block group supporting restoration. Most of Mississippi had block groups with >50% support for bear restoration. We were able to determine a statewide distribution of attitudes. Additionally, we documented that attitudes of landowners immediately adjacent to public land may differ from those of residents of the area surrounding the public land (both adjacent and not). We suggest using our approach for other restoration projects to better integrate human attitudes into the restoration program.
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Vol. 68 • No. 2