SEMINAR: Predicting pro-environmental agricultural practices: The social, psychological and contextual influences on land management
|Predicting pro-environmental agricultural practices: The social, psychological and contextual influences on land management
Pro-environmental agricultural approaches have been developed, but their uptake has not been sufficient to mitigate environmental degradation. A lack of suitable theoretical frameworks limits research on famers' environmental behaviours, and there has been little integration of social sciences in the agricultural adoption literature. This paper details a predictive model of pro-environmental agricultural practices, drawing on psychological frameworks: Value-Belief-Norms and Theory of Planned Behaviour. Dry-land farmers in Central New South Wales, Australia (n = 422), were surveyed about behaviours deemed to have positive impacts on the environment by local natural resource management authorities. A rigorous measure of complex land management practice is developed in relation to native vegetation, weeds, soil, stock, and perennials. The model was able to predict 52% of the variance in complex behaviour. Contextual factors, values, attitudes, and norms are identified as important predictors. Results suggest skills and abilities, environmental constraints, biospheric values, and a sense of being able to control one's destiny are significant precursors to pro-environmental practices. The NRM policy context and policy implications are discussed. Holistic strategies and social learning processes are identified as beneficial for farmer well-being and environmental outcomes.
Jennifer Price is an environmental psychologist with the Social and Behavioural Sciences Group of the CSIRO, within the Ecosystem Sciences Division. Her research applies social science to a broad range of natural resource domains and challenges, including agricultural land management practice, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and public acceptance of water supply schemes. Her research interests centre on identifying how cultural values and beliefs about environment shape individuals’ environmental behaviour, policy preferences, and risk perceptions. This work reveals how elements of social identity and personality influence the way people interpret and respond to environmental issues.
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