A recent survey by the UF/ IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources revealed Floridians lack knowledge on invasive species despite being concerned about the issues surrounding invasive species.
The center surveyed 539 Floridians in July 2016 to explore their thoughts about invasive species, a growing issue in the state that is home to over 500 nonnative plant and animals that may present a threat to the Florida’s biodiversity.
According the the survey, over half of Floridians reported not seeing news coverage related to invasive species in the past month, but 75 percent of respondents say they are likely or very likely to pay attention to this type of news coverage.
Only 23 percent of respondents reported seeing news coverage on invasive species in the past month. When asked what specific type of news coverage the respondents had seen, 24 percent of respondents reported seeing coverage related to pythons, and 16 percent reported coverage related to lionfish.
Survey participants were also asked about their knowledge related to invasive species, including types of invasive species, government control and prevention efforts, and personal prevention.
Sixty percent of respondents indicated their knowledge level about invasives as “not at all” or “slightly knowledgeable,” with 20 percent saying “not at all knowlegeable.”
Eighty percent of Floridians say the harm to native species is an important factor to be considered by government agencies when prioritizing efforts to control invasive species.
Invasive species cost the United States $120 billion in damages each year (Pimentel, Zuniga, & Morrison, 2005). Sixty-four percent of Floridians say the people who introduced the invasive species should have to pay for managing the invasives and repairing damage, while 58 percent believe the state government should cover the cost. Only 22 percent of respondents say that citizens should have to pay.
When Floridians were asked to rank their concern for invasive species with 10 representing “extremely concerned,” 20 percent selected 10. Over 70 percent of respondents ranked their concern at a 7 or higher.
Pimentel, D., Zuniga, R., & Morrison, D. (2005). Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecological Economics, 52(3), 273-288. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.10.002
PIE Center Director Ricky Telg and PIE Center Associate Director Alexa Lamm teamed up for the November installment of the Easy as PIE webinar series to discuss Floridians’ perceptions on invasive species and what Extension educators can do to combat the issue. Be sure to check it out and learn more on what Floridians think about invasive species:Watch the recording
Media contact: Ashley McLeod, firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-273-0793
Ricky Telg, email@example.com or 352-273-2094
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