Green industry experts’ consensus about wildlife-friendly landscape maintenance: Delphi-informed implications for agricultural and extension educators
Keywords:barriers, green industry, landscape, motivators, wildlife-friendly
This study was designed to understand the current state of wildlife-friendly landscape maintenance practices and the associated barriers and motivations among Florida green industry professionals. A Delphi technique to achieve consensus, along with descriptive survey questions, was used to facilitate feedback from Florida-based green industry professionals and Extension professionals. The expert panel identified 55 wildlife-friendly landscape activities, 25 barrier items, and 25 motivator items. Descriptive findings showed that green industry professionals believe, on average, Florida residents request wildlife-friendly maintenance services less frequently than wildlife-friendly landscape services are offered by Florida green industry professionals. Consensus findings demonstrated the barriers with the greatest agreement were a lack of public awareness about wildlife-friendly landscaping, its ecological and environmental benefits, professional focus on profit, homeowner association (HOA) regulations, and demand for formal landscape aesthetics. Consensus findings also revealed Florida green industry’s major motivators were clients’ demand for native, Florida-Friendly plants and wildlife-supporting landscapes, the desire to promote the company as wildlife-friendly, and public interest in native and Florida-Friendly Landscaping. Extension professionals, along with policymakers, educators, and program planners should reduce the identified barriers and expand on the motivators to encourage green industry professionals to engage in landscape maintenance activities that support wildlife.