Conservation easements and coastal armoring: Protecting sea turtle nesting habitat through property ownership
To determine the relationship between the intent of owners of homes located near sea turtle nesting beaches in the state of Florida to engage in coastal conservation easements (CCE), the theory of planned behavior (TPB), environmental identity (EI) and relevant demographics were analyzed. As CCEs are a novel application of a proven conservation tool, a statewide survey was administered to 1274 property owners living within a mile of a protected section of sea turtle nesting habitat (e.g. state park, preserve, wildlife refuge). Multiple linear regression showed coastal property owners were more likely to engage with a CCE if they believed they had the ability and opportunity, held positive attitudes about entering into a CCE, and identified more favorably with potential CCE motivators for property owners. These motivators include receiving assistance from a conservation organization to manage their beachfront land; conserving beach habitat; obtaining annual tax deductions; and trusting the organization administering a CCE. Knowing these motivators and demographics of coastal property owners can help aid coastal land conservationists in crafting strategies to conserve sea turtle nesting beaches.