The ODFW Marine Reserves Program is responsible for leading the human dimensions research for Oregon’s marine reserves. We are working in collaboration with a variety of research partners. Here you can learn more about the research being conducted, or check out our 2017 Human Dimensions Monitoring Plan.
What Do We Study?
In natural resource management, human dimensions research looks at the ways that humans value, use, and depend on the natural environment. For marine reserves, our research is looking to describe the different ways that people and communities are affected over time when we set these areas aside for conservation and cease fishing in them.
We look at these effects at a variety of scales — ranging from regions and communities, down to social groups and individuals. The effects we look at include:
- How communities are affected. We look at communities of place — like Depoe Bay; of occupation — such as the fishing industry; and of interest — like wildlife viewers.
- Ways ocean users are affected. We consider both extractive and non-extractive uses and users.
- How regional economies are affected. This includes looking at economic contributions, losses, and changes.
- Interactions between the economy, marine environment, and communities. How do people value and depend on the ocean? What desires and expectations do the public hold for the ocean and conservation areas managed by the state?
This research draws on multiple social science fields — including economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, and psychology. In some instances the information is quantitative, in others it is qualitative or descriptive.
Our Research Questions
Based on Oregon’s marine reserve goals and objectives, we developed six research questions that guide our human dimensions research:
- Who are the consumptive users?
What are these uses? What is the level of use? How does this use change over time?
- What are the general social, cultural, and economic drivers and characteristics of the communities of place?
How are these variables tied to the site? How do these change over time?
- What are the general attitudes and perceptions held by members of the various communities concerning site implementation?
What are the motivating variables behind these attitudes and perceptions? How do these attitudes and perceptions change over time?
- What are the potential social, cultural and economic effects to consumptive users from displaced activities?
How do these effects change over time?
- Who are the non-consumptive users?
What are these uses? What is the level of non-consumptive use? How does this change over time?
- What are the non-market values connected to the site?
What are the intrinsic or non-use values associated with the site and how do these values change over time?
We are working in collaboration with a variety of research partners to study the human dimensions of Oregon’s marine reserves. These partners provide advice, lend different expertise, and help us round out our monitoring program. Our Partners include social scientists from universities and the private sector.