Engaging farmers in environmental management through a better understanding of behaviour

Mills, Jane and Gaskell, Peter and Ingram, Julie and Dwyer, Janet C and Reed, Matt and Short, Christopher J (2017) Engaging farmers in environmental management through a better understanding of behaviour. Agriculture and Human Values, 34 (2). pp. 283-299. ISSN 0889-048X

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Abstract

The United Kingdom’s approach to encouraging environmentally positive behaviour has been three-pronged, through voluntarism, incentives and regulation, and the balance between the approaches has fluctuated over time. Whilst financial incentives and regulatory approaches have been effective in achieving some environmental management behavioural change amongst farmers, ultimately these can be viewed as transient drivers without long-term sustainability. Increasingly, there is interest in ‘nudging’ managers towards voluntary environmentally friendly actions. This approach requires a good understanding of farmers’ willingness and ability to take up environmental activities and the influences on farmer behavioural change. The paper aims to provide insights from 60 qualitative farmer interviews undertaken for a research project into farmers’ willingness and ability to undertake environmental management, particularly focusing on social psychological insights. Furthermore, it explores farmers’ level of engagement with advice and support networks that foster a genuine interest, responsibility and a sense of personal and social norm to sustain high quality environmental outcomes. Two conceptual frameworks are presented for usefully exploring the complex set of inter-relationships that can influence farmers’ willingness to undertake environmental management practices. The research findings show how an in-depth understanding of farmer’s willingness and ability to adopt environmental management practices and their existing level of engagement with advice and support are necessary to develop appropriate engagement approaches to achieve sustained and durable environmental management.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-016-9705-4
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General) > S589.75 Agriculture and the environment
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General) > S604.5 Agricultural conservation
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Eleanor Hawketts
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 14:55
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 12:23
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3659

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