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Tacit working models of human behavioural change II: Farmers’ folk theories of conservation programme design

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Community involvement may be essential for conservation programme success. We focus on farmers, asking how and why they believe conservation interventions will work, or not. Here we test models of folk theories of the human motivational factors required for behaviour change, in 3 rural central Chilean communities. We hypothesize that different models will be supported by farmers with different experiences with conservation programmes, and that socioeconomic and production system variation will explain further variation in who supports each working model. We use a multiple methods approach, combining a questionnaire with participant-observation. We find support for three of the working models of human behavioural change, among different socio-economic profiles of farmers. We believe that the schema of working models provides a boundary object to facilitate communication between conservationists and stakeholders, and can help improve conservation project design and implementation.

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MR-B benefited from a Marie Curie FP7 COFUND Agreenskills Plus Fellowship. The study was partially supported by Fondecyt-Iniciación 11160672. We are grateful to numerous people who shared their knowledge and provided assistance and support, including Berta Holgado Vargas, Lucia Abello, Andrea Parra, the PRODESAL Alhué team, the PRODESAL Paine team, the municipal staff of Alhué and Paine, the Altos de Cantillana Nature Sanctuary team, Bernardita Castro and of course all the farmers who participated in the questionnaire and others whom we interviewed and who shared their experience with us.

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Root-Bernstein, M., Bondoux, A., Guerrero-Gatica, M. et al. Tacit working models of human behavioural change II: Farmers’ folk theories of conservation programme design. Ambio (2020).

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  • Behavioural change
  • Conservation
  • Farmers
  • Motivation
  • Values