Abstract: Many ecosystems exist primarily, or solely, on privately owned (freehold) or managed (leasehold) land. In rural and semirural areas, local and regional government agencies are commonly responsible for encouraging landholders to conserve native vegetation and species on these private properties. Yet these agencies often lack the capacity to design and implement conservation programs tailored to rural and semirural landholdings and instead offer one program to all landholders. Landholders may elect not to participate because the program is irrelevant to their property or personal needs; consequently, vegetation–retention objectives may not be achieved. We differentiated landholders in Queensland, Australia, according to whether they derived income from the land (production landholders) or not (nonproduction landholders). We compared these two groups to identify similarities and differences that may inform the use of policy instruments (e.g., voluntary, economic, and regulatory) in conservation program design. We interviewed 45 landholders participating in three different conservation agreement programs (price‐based rate (property tax) rebate; market‐based tender; and voluntary, permanent covenant). Production landholders were more likely to participate in short‐term programs that offered large financial incentives that applied to <25% of their property. Nonproduction landholders were more likely to participate in long‐term programs that were voluntary or offered small financial incentives that applied to >75% of their property. These results may be explained by significant differences in the personal circumstances of production and nonproduction landholders (income, education, health) and differences in their norms (beliefs about how an individual is expected to act) and attitudes. Knowledge of these differences may allow for development of conservation programs that better meet the needs of landholders and thus increase participation in conservation programs and retention of native vegetation.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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