Loss of natural heritage is a problem that is particularly prevalent in areas of high population density. We used a survey to understand the factors that drive environmental behavior of landowners in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The survey, which contained questions about environmental attitude, pro-environmental behavior and demographics, was mailed to 18,090 rural route addresses, and we received 3256 completed surveys (18% response rate). Two types of environmental behavior, namely voluntarily increasing the area of land set aside for conservation, and enrollment in a conservation stewardship program, were significantly correlated with a positive attitude towards conservation. Financial considerations also played a role. We showed that the biggest motivator to enroll in a wetland enhancement program was access to ‘more information on how the decline in wetland area affects them personally’, while ‘public recognition’ was the least motivating factor. We suggest that enrollment in voluntary land stewardship programs might be increased by providing information about the effects of ecosystem loss, and by providing financial incentives for participation. In a larger social context, outreach programs by government agencies could focus on improving pro-environmental attitudes, which in turn is likely to result in more pro-environmental behavior of landowners.
Environmental Management – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 22, 2017
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