Factors influencing farmers' participation in contractual biodiversity conservation: a choice experiment with northern Australian pastoralists

Greiner, Romy (2016) Factors influencing farmers' participation in contractual biodiversity conservation: a choice experiment with northern Australian pastoralists. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 60 (1). pp. 1-21.

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Private landholders' contributions to biodiversity conservation are critical in landscapes with insufficient formal conservation reserves, as is the case in Australia's tropical savannas. This study reports results from a discrete choice experiment conducted with pastoralists and graziers across northern Australia. The experiment was designed to explore the willingness of pastoralists and graziers to sign up to voluntary biodiversity conservation contracts. Understanding preferences for contractual attributes and preference heterogeneity were additional objectives. Such knowledge can increase effectiveness and efficiency of conservation programs by informing contract design, negotiation and administration. Random parameter logit modelling showed that of contract attributes, conservation requirement, stewardship payment, contract duration and flexibility in contract conditions significantly influenced choices. Land productivity was a significant factor as were attitudes. There was significant heterogeneity of preferences for all contract attributes. Models were run for best–worst scaling responses and the first preferences subset, with the latter model deemed superior. Latent class modelling distinguished four classes of decision-makers and illustrated different decision heuristics. Conservation investment strategies, which offer farmers contract options that meet biodiversity requirements while accommodating heterogeneous attribute preferences, are likely to lead to increased participation rates. Complementary suasion efforts are also required which espouse the benefits that pastoralists derive from biodiversity and participation in voluntary conservation contracts.

Item ID: 37313
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-8489
Keywords: agri-environmental measures; stewardship payments; payments for environmental services; discrete choice model; preference heterogeneity; attribute attendance
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© 2015 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP) North Australia Hub, Charles Darwin University
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2015 03:32
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300210 Sustainable agricultural development @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 30%
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