Synthesizing Conservation Motivations and Barriers: What Have We Learned from Qualitative Studies of Farmers’ Behaviors in the United States?

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Abstract

Since 2011, qualitative studies examining adoption of conservation practices and programs (CPPs) have burgeoned. This article presents a systematic review of all U.S.-based qualitative investigations into CPP adoption since 1996. We found three themes are discussed primarily as motivating adoption: farmer characteristics, environmental awareness, and trust in information sources. Four themes are discussed primarily as barriers to adoption: farm management, negative perceptions of a conservation practice, perceptions that adoption is a risk, and land tenure. Four themes were discussed as both motivations and barriers: economic factors, social norms, perceptions of government programs, and farm characteristics. Overall, we found farmers’ economic and management needs and their perceived and actual limitations to conservation behavior influenced adoption. Implications of our findings for policymakers and practitioners include promoting systems-based conservation strategies and stressing the benefits of conservation practices.

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Ranjan, P., Church, S. P., Floress, K., & Prokopy, L. S. (2019). Synthesizing Conservation Motivations and Barriers: What Have We Learned from Qualitative Studies of Farmers’ Behaviors in the United States? Society and Natural Resources, 32(11), 1171–1199. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2019.1648710

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