Measuring farmer conservation behaviors: Challenges and best practices

Book Title:
Year Published: 2018
Month Published: January
Author: Kristin Floress, Adam Reimer, Aaron Thompson, Mark Burbach, Cody Knutson, Linda Prokopy, Marc Ribaudo, Jessica Ulrich-Schad
Book Group Author:

This article presents a guide for understanding the purposes and appropriate uses of different measures of
conservation behavior. While applicable across natural resource management contexts, we primarily draw upon
agricultural conservation research to illustrate our points. Farmers are often of interest to researchers, program
managers, extension professionals, and non-governmental environmental organizations due to the significant
impact of agricultural production practices on environmental resources. Practitioners are often interested in
producer behaviors when they are planning or evaluating a project, developing or evaluating policy, or developing
and testing theory. Within those bounds, we identify when it is most useful to assess an actual behavior
(self-reported or observed) or behavioral intention (willingness or intent to pay/accept, support/participate in a
policy or program, or engage in a conservation practice), and present examples of how they have been used in
the past. We close with three recommendations for those conducting research related to agricultural producer
behaviors: 1) research should be theoretically grounded, even when the purpose isn’t to develop theory; 2) great
care should be used when selecting behavior measures, dependent upon the purpose of the research, and 3)
composite measures should be used when possible and appropriate.

Pages: 414–418
Volume: 70
Journal: Land Use Policy
Journal ISO:
Publisher: Elsevier

Agricultural producer, Behavior, Conservation, Social science

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