Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Prof. Dale Miller

Abstract

Grasslands are declining worldwide due to human conversion for settlement, agriculture, and rangeland. Grasshoppers are an important component of grassland ecosystems, however land use changes put them in direct competition with humans for resources. In the US, on a yearly average, 2 million acres are treated with pesticides at a cost of $5 million. This does not include the externalities to non-target organisms and human health, which can be as high as $1.76 million yearly. The USDA-APHIS program has invested millions of dollars to reduce the use of pesticides. Alternative control methods include, controlled grazing, prescribed fire, and mechanical control. These methods are not commonly adopted by land managers. The reasons may be due to lack of education and also the social perception of grasshoppers. A survey was conducted in Fremont County, WY to determine how social perception related to control methods and what information sources land managers relied on. The results showed that grasshoppers were largely viewed as negative or neutral by both land managers and non-land managers. Land owners who were impacted by grasshoppers had a slightly more negative view than those who were not impacted. The solution to this ecological and economic dilemma may be to provide true education to land managers in the form of a workshop.

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