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Motivations for implementation of ecological compensation areas on Swiss lowland farms

Home, Robert; Balmer, Oliver; Jahrl, Ingrid; Stolze, Matthias and Pfiffner, Lukas (2014) Motivations for implementation of ecological compensation areas on Swiss lowland farms. Journal of Rural Studies, 34, pp. 26-36.

[thumbnail of Home-etal-2014JRuralStudies-motivations-ecology-onfarms-Vol34-p26-36.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2013.12.007


Swiss farmers receive subsidies for reserving ecological compensation areas on their farms with the aim of encouraging biodiversity, but recent studies have found that the existing system of incentives is insufficient to halt biodiversity loss in the Swiss agricultural landscape. An effective targeting of incentives is needed to motivate farmers to implement conservation measures on farmland. The primary aim of this study is to identify the motivations that contribute to the intention of Swiss farmers to engage in conservation on their farms. Fifteen Swiss lowland farmers were interviewed using qualitative interviews and their responses to questions about their attitudes toward nature conservation were categorised and classified according to Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behaviour. It was found that the farmers’ identities and their experiences with past nature conservation measures combine with their expectations of direct benefits, such as financial incentives, and their trust that the measures will produce the desired outcomes, to form a behavioural attitude. The sampled Swiss farmers display a strong sense of fairness, which drives them to comply with subjective norms, although they feel torn between a societal expectation to conserve nature and a wish to appear productive to their peers. We conclude by recommending that any changes to the policy framework should be undertaken in a consultative process and that Swiss lowland farmers be allowed the flexibility to implement measures that will produce the best conservation outcomes on their farms.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Ecological compensation, Farmer motivation, Biodiversity, Persuasion strategies, Direct payments, Agro-environmental program, Sozioökonomie, Politikfolgenabschätzung, Biodiversität, Förderung, Direktzahlungen, 25017
Agrovoc keywords:
ecological agriculture -> alternative agriculture
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Crop protection > Functional agrobiodiversity
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics > Agripolicy
Deposited By: Pfiffner, Dr. Lukas
ID Code:25469
Deposited On:22 Mar 2014 15:18
Last Modified:18 Aug 2021 14:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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