Urban Neighbors' Wildlife-Related Attitudes and Behaviors near Federally Protected Areas in Tucson, Arizona, USA

Lisa K. Harris, William W. Shaw, John Schelhas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Urban development adjacent to protected natural areas may result in reduced scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and tourism associated with the natural amenities of these areas. Conservation of the biological, recreational, and scenic rcsources in parks and preserves requires an understanding of the relationships between the protected areas and their suburban neighbors. This information can be useful to both resource managers concerned with protecting wildlife and natural resources and urban planners concerned with maintaining an attractive residential environment for people. As part of several studies on urban conservation issues being conducted at the University of Arizona, we conducted a mail survey of households within 1.6 km (1 mile) of large federal landholdings adjacent to Tucson, Arizona (Pusch Ridge Wilderness, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and Saguaro National Park, managed by the U.S. National Park Service). Our sample size was 690. Over 80% of the households completed the survey, providing information about their interests in wildlife resources and about their attitudes and behaviors relating to the public natural areas adjacent to their homes. Issues covered by the survey included interactions with wildlife (57% of the households fed wild birds and 26% fed other wildlife), importance of living near protected areas (69% reported "proximity to protected areas an important factor in choice of home location"), attitudes toward various kinds of development in the neighborhood, and problems caused by wildlife at people's homes. These and other findings were analyzed in terms of their implications for the managers of protected areas and for metropolitan planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-148
Number of pages5
JournalNatural Areas Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • National parks
  • Public opinion
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Urban wildlife
  • Wilderness areas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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