Graduation Date

Fall 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Matthew Johnson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Barbara Clucas

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Gregg Gold

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


Landscape conversion and impacts of synthetic pesticides from agriculture pose threats to natural habitats critical to preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services. Pest management is a concern for all agriculture, and many conventional practices can negatively affect the environment through drift, runoff, and harming non-target species. Winegrapes are particularly at risk of damage from rodents, which can girdle vines and destroy root systems.

One alternative to reduce rodent numbers that has shown promise in agriculture is the use of barn owl (Tyto alba) boxes. The Johnson Lab at Humboldt State University has been researching barn owl behavior and ecology in vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, and this thesis builds on this work. Seeking to better understand how farmers’ underlying environmental values relate to the use of barn owl boxes and other sustainable practices, a survey was conducted of 71 California grapegrowers. Overall, more grapegrowers had mutualist value orientations (64%) than found in other populations. However, there was a disconnect between the use of barn owl boxes and environmental value orientations, with most respondents (80%) reporting the use of owl boxes regardless of underlying values. These results suggest the use of barn owl boxes is experiencing a normalization and a diminution in their perception as a progressive practice. This opens the door for future research to examine whether this is true of other sustainable winegrowing techniques and advance our understanding of the relationships between values and sustainable farming methods.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location