This article reports on the relationship between measures of farmers' conservation attitudes and motivations on the one hand, and their self-reported and observed management of windbreaks and woodlots on the other. The study was conducted on historic farms where tenureship is, on average, over four generations. A survey instrument assessed farmers' attitudes about farming, the benefits of using trees on farms, the aesthetics of the rural landscape, motivation and their self-reported conservation practices. An analysis of landscape patterns on respondents' farms was conducted by analysis of aerial photography. Findings suggest that a conventional, externally motivated approach to farming results in reduced use of farm woodlots and windbreaks. In contrast, an approach based upon aesthetic and intrinsic forces is predictive of increased use and maintenance of woodlots and windbreaks. It is suggested that the promotion of conservation practices on farms may benefit from subtle, non-economic interventions as well as from financial and regulatory approaches.
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"A limited number of studies have considered the role of personal values and beliefs in shaping farmer or landowner conservation practices, and few of these studies have considered the role of framing. This research focuses on the influence of personal values and beliefs in shaping land management decisions in contrast to the body of work dealing exclusively with economic incentives (e.g., Brook et al. 2003; Erickson and De Young 1994; Jackson-Smith et al. 2005; Langpap 2004). A recent meta-analysis of factors predicting farmer adoption of BMPs did find that positive attitudes toward BMPs was the factor most frequently associated with adoption (Prokopy et al. 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, framing effects are investigated in a new context: farmer decision making about conservation tillage practices. Primary hypotheses include the following: (1) frames (i.e., different arguments about or conceptions of an issue) portraying conservation tillage as “profitable” will generate more interest in the tillage technique among farmers than a control frame presenting only basic information; (2) frames discussing potential payments for “environmental benefits” will generate more positive attitudes than frames discussing payment for “storing carbon (C)” to limit climate change; and (3) framing effects will vary based on subjects' prior beliefs and experiences. These hypotheses were tested using a survey-based experiment administered to a national sample of row-crop farmers. Contrary to expectations, the profit frame and both payment frames had no effect on farmers' interest in conservation tillage across our entire sample. Consistent with the third hypothesis, however, a negative framing effect was found for the profit frame on nonadopters who reported no use of no-till in the past two years. These results support the argument regarding the importance of prior beliefs in reactions to frames. They also suggest the possibility of modest financial payments “crowding out” intrinsic motivations for contributions to public goods such as soil conservation. From a policy perspective, these findings also suggest the relative inefficacy of offers of modest conservation payments or profitability frames in promoting no-till farming, especially among nonadopters, and the need to find alternative frames that avoid reinforcing an argument that nonadopters appear to have already considered and rejected.
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 11/2013; 68(6):501-511. DOI:10.2489/jswc.68.6.501 · 1.60 Impact Factor
"In this line of inquiry non-monetary valuation and individual preferences for preservation are typically important driver in who enrolls in voluntary programs (Breetz and others 2005; Kendra and Hull 2005; Ross-Davis and others 2005). Landowners do appear to value the importance of amenity benefits and the aesthetic quality of particular conservation activities, rather than purely the economic incentives provided (Erickson and de Young 1992; Koontz 2001; Ryan and others 2003). Attitudes about conservation goals and environmental protection in general increase levels of participation (Söderqvist 2003; Koontz and others 2004). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of voluntary programs targeting resource conservation on private land has become increasingly prevalent in environmental policy. Voluntary programs potentially offer significant benefits over regulatory and market-based approaches. This article examines the factors affecting landowner participation in voluntary forest conservation programs using a combination of parcel-level GIS and remotely sensed data and semi-structured interviews of landowners in Monroe County, Indiana. A logistic regression model is applied to determine the probability of participation based on landowner education, membership in other non-forest voluntary programs, dominant land use activity, parcel size, distance from urban center, land resource portfolios, and forest cover. Both land use activity and the spatial configuration of a landholder's resource portfolio are found to be statistically significant with important implications for the design and implementation of voluntary programs.
"Research specifically on the attitudes of farmers and ranchers (Erickson and DeYoung 1992-3; Reading and Clark 1993; Sullivan et al 1996) confirms that landowner attitudes generally predict behavior (Kraus 1995). These recent studies also confirm the work of Stephen Kellert, who has shown over the years that farmers and ranchers tend to possess utilitarian and negativistic attitudes toward the environment, especially when they feel threatened or imposed upon. "