Farmers' Motivations for Adopting Conservation Practices along Riparian Zones in a Mid-western Agricultural Watershed
ABSTRACT In the agricultural Mid-west, riparian corridors are vital for protecting biodiversity and water quality. The cumulative management decisions of hundreds of private landowners have a tremendous impact on this riparian zone. This study of 268 farmers in a typical Mid-western watershed in Michigan looked at farmer's motivations for adopting conservation practices, their current management practices along their rivers and drains as well as their future management plans. The results of the study showed that farmers are intrinsically motivated to practise conservation by such factors as their attachment to their land, rather than by motivations such as receiving economic compensation. Farmers are also likely to engage in conservation practices that make their farm appear well-managed. Furthermore, those farmers with strong intrinsic motivations were likely to adopt conservation practices that protect streams, such as maintaining a woody vegetative buffer or practicing no-till farming. This study shows that protecting riparian resources in agricultural watersheds requires strategies for conservation that respect farmers' attachment to their land and their desire to practise good stewardship.
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ABSTRACT: Large tracts of lowlands have been drained to expand extensive agriculture into areas that were historically categorized as wasteland. This expansion in agriculture necessarily coincided with changes in ecosystem structure, biodiversity, and nutrient cycling. These changes have impacted not only the landscapes in which they occurred, but also larger water bodies receiving runoff from drained land. New approaches must append current efforts toward land conservation and restoration, as the continuing impacts to receiving waters is an issue of major environmental concern. One of these approaches is agricultural drainage management. This article reviews how this approach differs from traditional conservation efforts, the specific practices of drainage management and the current state of knowledge on the ecology of drainage ditches. A bottom-up approach is utilized, examining the effects of stochastic hydrology and anthropogenic disturbance on primary production and diversity of primary producers, with special regard given to how management can affect establishment of macrophytes and how macrophytes in agricultural landscapes alter their environment in ways that can serve to mitigate non-point source pollution and promote biodiversity in receiving waters.Biology. 12/2012; 1:794-856.
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ABSTRACT: An inter-disciplinary assessment of the conservation practices on forest soils in Mexico was conducted (i) to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of soil quality indicators and (ii) to use social indicators of their acceptance and execution; such information would be a means of improving the design and implementation of public policy. After four years of soil conservation measures in areas under common ownership, involving ditches, individual terraces or arrangement of plant material, soil indicators such as bulk density, total carbon, total nitrogen and pH in nine sites and 54 plots showed deficiencies in soil properties involved in productivity and hydrological regulation, in comparison with the control groups. The results suggest that the conservation practices are not improving any of these functions. Social indicators revealed that the soil conservation program only encourages participation through economic stimulus without considering that non-financial interest can play an important role, then the rate of adoption and replication of these measures is low. These results led us to make some suggestion with policy implications such as taking into account landscape heterogeneity and social complexity to define conservation actions; considering strengthening conservation attitudes among ejidatarios and also to assess the conservation program through results that have measured the impact of the practices on the recovery of soil quality. Interdisciplinary approaches to understand attitudes for soil conservation are a pre requisite in future research.Catena 01/2013; · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This paper aims to capture the complexity and dynamic nature of motivations for participation in agri-environment schemes (AESs). Specifically, it examines the extent to which decisions about family farm participation in Tir Gofal (TG), a whole farm AES in Wales, can be traced to long-term motivations for farm continuity; and how Tir Gofal fits into dynamic farm development pathways that farmers follow to ensure their continuity. It reports the findings from narrative style interviews with 25 TG agreement holders and 12 non-agreement holders across Wales.The results show that the continuance of the family farm is an important goal for agreement and non-agreement holders alike, and this is linked to enduring commercially or traditionally oriented values. Three broad sets of development pathways were identified and the extent to which TG fits in with these pathways is considered, with particular reference to different periods in the farm life cycle. The paper concludes that incorporating a temporal dimension into the wider question of farmers’ participation in agri-environment schemes can help to improve understanding of farmers’ behaviour particularly given the variety of possible opportunities currently open to, and used by, family farms.Land Use Policy 10/2013; 31:267–279. · 2.29 Impact Factor