Excluding stock from riverbanks for environmental restoration: The influence of social norms, drought, and off-farm income on landholder behaviour

Moore, Harriet and Rutherfurd, Ian and Murray, Peel (2018) Excluding stock from riverbanks for environmental restoration: The influence of social norms, drought, and off-farm income on landholder behaviour. Journal of Rural Studies, 62 . pp. 116-124. ISSN 0743-0167

Full content URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...

Documents
Excluding stock from riverbanks for environmental restoration: The influence of social norms, drought, and off-farm income on landholder behaviour

Request a copy
[img] PDF
UPLOAD.pdf - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only until 27 July 2020.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

469kB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Governments often use voluntary agreements to encourage landholders to adopt environmental practices, such as excluding stock from grazing riverbanks. In
Victoria, Australia, government agencies subsidize the adoption of these projects, while landholders are required to continue maintaining stock exclusion indefinitely.
In the absence of further financial or legal enforcement, landholder compliance depends on the motivation and decision-making of individual landholders. Social
beliefs about the responsibility of landholders to improve the condition of degraded riverine ecosystems, known as social norms, influence farmers to adopt new
environmental practices. The influence of social norms on behaviour weakens when people perceived themselves to be constrained. From late 1996 to mid-2010
landholders in Victoria endured more than ten years of drought that has reduced productivity, and income. Drought conditions may influence whether landholders
continue to exclude stock over the long-term, despite holding positive social norms. However, behaviour is influenced by perceptions of constraint; landholder
perceptions may not reflect drought severity. Perceived drought affectedness may also be related to the amount of income obtained from farm activities. This study
examined the relationship between social factors, (including injunctive and descriptive social norms, and symbolic and instrumental social beliefs, perceived drought
affectedness, actual drought severity), and the percentage of overall income that landholders obtain from farm activities. A social survey, and assessment of river
restoration projects, was conducted with 93 landholders in rural Victoria, Australia. We found that landholders who continue to graze riverbanks hold weaker social
norms about excluding stock in drought conditions. Grazing behaviour was explained by social norms, and perceived drought affectedness together. Perceived
drought affectedness was best explained by actual drought severity, but also by the amount of income obtained from farming activities, rather than either factor
alone. Policy makers should consider using drought relief funding to subsidize the purchase of additional stock feed during droughts to encourage farmers to continue
environmental stock exclusion, particularly when farmers rely on farm activities for most of their income.

Additional Information:The final published version of this article can be accessed online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016717312445
Keywords:stock exclusion, drought perception, social norms, environmental behaviour
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
F Physical Sciences > F810 Environmental Geography
L Social studies > L700 Human and Social Geography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:32843
Deposited On:01 Aug 2018 15:08

Repository Staff Only: item control page