A Place Meaning Scale for Tropical Marine Settings
Over the past 20 years, most of the worldwide hectares set aside for environmental protection have been added to marine protected areas. Moreover, these areas are under tremendous pressure from negative anthropogenic impacts. Given this growth and pressure, there is a need to increase the understanding of the connection between people and marine environments in order to better manage the resource. One construct that researchers have used to understand human-environment connections is place meanings. Place meanings reflect the value and significance of a setting to individuals. Most investigations of place meanings have been confined to terrestrial settings. Moreover, most studies have had small sample sizes or have used place attachment scales as a proxy to gage the meanings individuals ascribe to a setting. Hence, it has become necessary to develop a place meaning scale for use with large samples and for use by those who are concerned about the management of marine environments. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to develop a scale to measure the importance people associate with the meanings they ascribe to tropical marine settings and empirically test the scale using two independent samples; that is, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary stakeholders.