Associate Professor Nicholas Gill
Title: Crossing Land, Social and Biosecurity Boundaries: Recreational Visitor Networks, Values, Practices and Knowledge and the Management of Weeds in the Kosciuszko Region
The PhD is driven by the presence of the non-native plants, Orange Hawkweed and Mouse-ear hawkweed in Kosciuszko National Park and the known role of recreational activities as vectors for weeds and pathogens. The project will focus on the social and material networks, knowledge, and practices of recreational users in the park and across public and private lands in the region. Their knowledge, behaviour, and practices may be shaped by group norms and culture, the design of management interventions, past experiences, and personal attributes.
The project will aim to provide insights into how various groups of recreational users such as mountain bike riders, walkers, horse riders respond to management interventions designed to influence behaviour and establish norms relating to minimising the movement of weeds and/or pathogens. Such interventions may include equipment such as cleaning stations, engagement with recreational user groups, clubs, and businesses, the design and strategic placement of information and messaging practises.
The project could provide quantitative and qualitative baseline data for assessing changes in visitor practices, norms, knowledge, and dispositions over the longer term.
It is envisaged the project will be undertaken using mixed methods – potentially encompassing surveys, observation/participation, and interviews/focus groups. The theoretical and disciplinary focus may encompass behavioural approaches from psychology and cultural approaches such as practice theory or cultural economy as used in geography and elsewhere. Regardless of approach, the research should establish a foundation for implementing and testing.
The PhD project is part of a social research/behaviour change project funded under the NSW Hawkweed Eradication Program managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.