Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hunt, Kevin M.

Committee Member

Baker, Beth

Committee Member

Jones, W. Daryl

Committee Member

Leap, Braden T.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Pollinator conservation has recently become a topic of greater interest and research around the world as native insect pollinator species increasingly face population declines. In the United States, growing concerns regarding food security and decreased biodiversity have led to the creation of programmatic and best management practices (BMPs) promotional efforts among governmental and non-governmental organizations. These efforts seek to support pollinators on public and private lands by addressing the primary causes of decline (e.g., habitat loss and increased chemical use). Although these organizations have worked diligently to increase awareness and applicability of programs to private landholders, there is still a gap in pollinator BMP adoption. The purpose of my dissertation was to address the pollinator BMP adoption gap through empirical research with two primary goals: 1) develop and test a measurement instrument to investigate the current state of adoption in Mississippi, landholder attributes, and attribute influence on adoption intentions, and 2) conduct segmentation analyses to develop preliminary recommendations for future educational and outreach efforts to increase adoption of pollinator BMPs. I used two sociological theories to develop a questionnaire consisting of constructs measuring landholder attributes, including Attitudes, Injunctive Norms, Perceived Behavioral Control, Intentions, Knowledge, and Communication Channel Use. I conducted a selfministered mail survey during summer 2018 and received a 38.5% effective response rate. Relative to the first goal, major findings from the research included evidence of reliability and validity for the measurement constructs, landholders having more favorable than unfavorable Attitudes regarding the use of pollinator BMPs on their properties, and Perceived Behavioral Control as the strongest influence on adoption intentions compared to additional landholder attributes. Relative to the second goal, major findings included the generation of four distinct clusters and three land use type segments that allowed for group comparisons and development of a recommended two-step targeted educational and outreach approach. My dissertation provided theoretical and substantive advances to the fields of adoption research and pollinator conservation from which future research and outreach efforts can grow.