Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 113-122

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Using Tailored Information and Public Commitment to Improve the Environmental Quality of Farm Lands: An Example from the Netherlands

  • Anne Marike LokhorstAffiliated withSocial and Organizational Psychology Unit, Leiden University Email author 
  • , Jerry van DijkAffiliated withUtrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences
  • , Henk StaatsAffiliated withSocial and Organizational Psychology Unit, Leiden University
  • , Eric van DijkAffiliated withSocial and Organizational Psychology Unit, Leiden University
  • , Geert de SnooAffiliated withLeiden University, CML


By adopting nature conservation practices, farmers can enhance the environmental quality and biodiversity of their land. In this exploratory study, a behavioral intervention that focused on improving Dutch farmers’ nature conservation practices was developed and tested. This intervention was based on insights derived from social psychology and combined tailored information and public commitment. Participating farmers were divided in three groups: one group received tailored information only, one group received both tailored information and a public commitment manipulation, and one group served as a control. A questionnaire measuring relevant aspects of conservation was completed before and after the intervention. Results show that tailored information combined with public commitment making resulted in a stronger desire to engage in conservation, an increase in surface area of non-subsidized natural habitat, and an increase in time farmers spent on conservation. The intervention affected both subsidized and non-subsidized conservation, but the effects were stronger for non-subsidized conservation.


Tailored information Commitment Farmers Nature conservation Intervention The Netherlands