Attitudes toward ecosystem management in the united states, 1992-1998

David N. Bengston, George Xu, David P. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Ecosystem management has been formally adopted by a large number of state and federal agencies and by forest products firms and associations. But little research has examined people’s attitudes toward this new approach to natural resource management. This study used computer methods to measure favorable and unfavorable attitudes towardecosystem management expressed in 1500 online news media stories over the period 1992 through 1998. We found that ecosystem management is on the downside of the “issue attention cycle,” with the total quantity of discussion of this concept rising in the early 1990s, declining during the mid 1990s, and leveling out in recent years. Wealso found that about 78% of all attitudes expressed about ecosystem management in news stories have been favorable, comparable to past research based on surveys of the public. Our analysis suggests that ecosystem management may have become a “settled” (i.e., noncontroversial) issue with broad public acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-487
Number of pages17
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2001


  • Attitudes
  • Computer-coded
  • Content analysis
  • Ecosystem management
  • News media


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