An index to measure the conservation attitudes of landowners towards Overberg Coastal Renosterveld, a critically endangered vegetation type in the Cape Floral Kingdom, South Africa
The construction and validation of a user-friendly index to measure attitude of landowners towards conservation of Overberg Coastal Renosterveld (OCR), a critically endangered, distinctive grassy-shrubland in South Africa is reported. An iterative item reliability analysis was executed on questionnaire data from a random sample of 36 private landowners in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, using Spearman Rank Order correlations and Cronbach's Alpha. Results yielded an index with two dimensions and a Cronbach Alpha co-efficient of 0.67. Dimensions of conservation attitude towards renosterveld included: (i) landowners' perception of the benefit of Coastal Renosterveld; and (ii) willingness to conserve it. The mean conservation attitude score was 0.6 (±0.03), while minimum and maximum scores were 0.22 and 1.0, respectively, indicating that landowner attitudes were generally sympathetic towards OCR conservation. The following variables had significant associations with conservation attitude: (i) area of renosterveld; (ii) landowner environmental group membership status; (iii) presence of ecotourism activities on the property; and (iv) how long the property had been in the owner's family. Index scores can assist conservation practitioners to prioritise resources, on the assumption that high-scoring individuals are more likely to participate in conservation initiatives. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.