Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Factors affecting adoption of hedgerows and other biodiversity-enhancing features on farms in California, USA

  • Sonja BrodtEmail author
  • Karen Klonsky
  • Louise Jackson
  • Stephen B. Brush
  • Sean Smukler


Although hedgerows, windbreaks, and other biodiversity-enhancing farm edge features offer the potential for ecosystem benefits without occupying much crop space, relatively few farms in California, USA include such features. Our study identified the practices currently used to manage non-cropped edges of fields, ponds, and watercourses in a case study area in California. We also identified social, economic, and agronomic incentives and constraints to installing biodiversity-enhancing edge features. More than one-third of the study farmers had installed native hedgerows, windbreaks, and/or grassed edges. Interviews demonstrated the importance of socially influential farmers working in tandem with public and private agencies to build initial interest in these practices. However, these features occupied less than four percent of all possible edge length. Constraints to increasing adoption included high costs, fear of harbouring weeds and rodents, and lack of certainty about ecosystems benefits, highlighting the need for cost-share programs and more regionally-focused agroecological research.


Adoption Innovation diffusion Hedgerows Farm ponds On-farm conservation Cost-share 



Our sincere appreciation and thanks go to Paul Robins, Wendy Rash, Chris Rose, Vance Russell, Rachael Long, Marcia Gibbs, Mark Cady, and all the farmers who took time out of their busy growing season to talk with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Brodt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen Klonsky
    • 1
  • Louise Jackson
    • 2
  • Stephen B. Brush
    • 3
  • Sean Smukler
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Land, Air, and Water ResourcesUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human and Community DevelopmentUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  4. 4.Graduate Group in EcologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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