Changing Hispanic demographics: Challenges in natural resource management

  • Lopez R
  • Lopez A
  • Wilkins R
 et al. 
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Abstract

Hispanics are a growing segment of the United States population and will be an increas- ingly important stakeholder in future allocation and management of natural resources, including wildlife. In the United States, Hispanics now are the largest ethnic minority and will remain so over the next 40 years. Texas supports the second-largest Hispanic population in the United States behind California, and it will have a Hispanic majority by 2040. Some analysts predict that this demographic shift will leave us with a less-educat- ed population with smaller incomes and higher levels of poverty-posing not only a social concern but also a challenge for conservation of wildlife resources. Here we iden- tify shared Hispanic cultural characteristics, such as family, socioeconomic factors, and language, and their importance in planning wildlife outreach programs. Recognizing dif- ferences among Spanish-speaking cultures is equally important. Knowledge of cultural characteristics will enable wildlife advocates to better expose wildlife issues in a manner receptive by Hispanics. It is in the best interest of wildlife and wildlife professionals to encourage Hispanic participation in this planning process because of their growing polit- ical and economic influence.

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Authors

  • Roel R Lopez

  • Angelica Lopez

  • R Neal Wilkins

  • Cruz C Torres

  • Raul Valdez

  • G Teer

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