Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 199–223 | Cite as

Effects of a participatory bird census project on knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of coffee farmers in Colombia



This study presents an evaluation of a participatory bird census (PBC) project that has been administered to coffee farmers in Colombia. Our objectives were (1) to evaluate the effect of the PBC project on conservation knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of coffee farmers and (2) to learn about the barriers farmers perceive toward adopting conservation practices. We conducted 261 interviews on four groups to control for the effects of involvement with an environmental coffee certification program (Rainforest Alliance—RA) and the PBC project. The four groups were (1) non-PBC participant, non-RA certified; (2) PBC participant, non-RA certified; (3) non-PBC participant, RA certified; and (4) PBC participant, RA certified. PBC participant/RA and PBC participant/non-RA were more knowledgeable about migratory and threatened birds. PBC participant/RA, PBC participant/non-RA, and non-PBC participant/RA groups believed they had the skills to perform bird conservation practices on their farms. A majority of respondents indicated that they were performing bird conservation practices and had positive attitudes toward birds. Farmers believed that lack of environmental awareness and lack of knowledge were the main barriers to perform bird conservation practices. Evaluating participatory programs with Colombian farmers can reveal environmental literacy improvements, but self-reported surveys may not be adequate to ascertain attitude changes and adoption of conservation practices. Direct observations on individual farms would be required to determine the impacts on such outreach efforts. Bird conservation seems popular with Colombian coffee farmers, and outreach programs that give detailed biodiversity management information could help aid bird conservation efforts on coffee farms.


Biodiversity conservation Bird conservation Environmental education Participatory process Sustainable agriculture 



Participatory bird census project


Non-PBC participant, non-Rainforest Alliance certified


PBC participant, non-Rainforest Alliance certified


Non-PBC participant, Rainforest Alliance certified


PBC participant, Rainforest Alliance certified


  1. Ahnström, J., Höckert, J., Bergeå, H. L., Francis, C. A., Skelton, P., & Hallgren, L. (2008). Farmers and nature conservation: What is known about attitudes, context factors and actions affecting conservation? Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 24(1), 38–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albertin, A., & Nair, P. K. R. (2004). Farmers’ perspectives on the role of shade trees in coffee production systems: An assessment from the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Human Ecology, 32(4), 443–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alexander, S. E. (2000). Resident attitudes towards conservation and Black Howler Monkeys in Belize: The Community Baboon Sanctuary. Environmental Conservation, 27(4), 341–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alston, D. G., & Reding, M. E. (1998). Factors influencing adoption and educational outreach of integrated pest management. Journal of Extension 36(3). http://www.joe.org/joe/1998june/a3.html. Accessed 5 February 2010.
  6. Arbeláez, D., Lentijo, G. M., & Botero, J. E. (2007). Las aves en las zonas cafeteras. Biocarta, 11, 1–4. Chinchiná, Colombia: Cenicafé.Google Scholar
  7. Avery, M. I., Cummings, J. L., Decker, D. G., Johnson, J. W., Wise, J. C., & Howard, J. I. (1993). Field and aviary evaluation of low-level application rates of methiocarb for reducing bird damage to blueberries. Crop Protection, 12(2), 95–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bawa, K. S. (2006). Globally dispersed local challenges in conservation biology. Conservation Biology, 20, 696–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brossard, D., Lewenstein, B., & Bonney, R. (2005). Scientific knowledge and attitude change: The impact of a citizen science project. International Journal of Science Education, 27, 1099–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Calheiros, D. F., Seidl, A. F., & Ferreira, C. J. A. (2000). Participatory research methods in environmental science: Local and scientific knowledge of a limnological phenomenon in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 684–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell, L. M., & Vainio-Mattila, A. (2003). Participatory development and community-based conservation: Opportunities missed for lessons learned? Human Ecology, 31(3), 417–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castaño, G. E. (2002). Estudio sociocultural de los caficultores y su relación con el manejo integrado de la broca del café. Revista Cenicafé, 53(1), 34–38.Google Scholar
  13. Chess, C. (2000). Evaluating environmental public participation: Methodological questions. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 43(6), 769–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cummings, J. L., Shwiff, S. A., & Tupper, S. K. (2005). Economic impacts of blackbird damage to the rice industry. Wildlife Damage Management Conference, 11, 317–322.Google Scholar
  15. Daily, G. C., Erlich, P. R., & Sánchez-Azofeifa, A. (2001). Countryside biogeography: Use of human-dominated habitats by the avifauna of southern Costa Rica. Ecological Applications, 11, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Young, R., Duncan, A., Frank, J., Gill, N., Rothman, S., Shenot, J., et al. (1993). Promoting source reduction behavior: The role of motivational information. Environment and Behavior, 25(1), 70–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duvel, G. H. (2007). Monitoring in extension: From principles to practical implementation. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, 36, 78–93.Google Scholar
  18. Engels, C. A., & Jacobson, S. K. (2007). Evaluating long-term effects of the Golden Lion Tamarin environmental education program in Brazil. The Journal of Environmental Education, 38(3), 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ericson, J. A. (2006). A participatory approach to conservation in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Campeche, Mexico. Landscape Urban Planning, 74, 242–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Espinosa, R., López, A. M. & Botero, J. E. (2009). En peligro de extinción. Biocarta, 14, 1–4. Chinchiná, Colombia: Cenicafé.Google Scholar
  21. Estrada, A., & Coates-Estrada, R. (2005). Diversity of Neotropical migratory landbird species assemblages in forest fragments and man-made vegetation in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 1719–1734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Estrada, A., Coates-Estrada, R., & Meritt, D. A, Jr. (1997). Anthropogenic landscape changes and avian diversity at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Biodiversity and Conservation, 6, 19–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Evans, S. M., Gebbels, S., & Stockill, J. M. (2008). Our shared responsibility: Participation in ecological projects as a means of empowering communities to contribute to coastal management processes. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 57, 3–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferraro, P. J., & Pattanayak, S. K. (2006). Money for nothing? A call for empirical evaluation of biodiversity conservation investments. Public Library of Science Biology, 4, 482–488.Google Scholar
  25. Fiallo, E. A., & Jacobson, S. K. (1995). Local communities and protected areas: Attitudes of rural residents towards conservation and Machalilla National Park. Ecuador. Environmental Conservation, 22(3), 241–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. FNC (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia). (2010). La tierra del café. http://www.cafedecolombia.com/particulares/es/la_tierra_del_cafe/. Accessed 5 February 2010.
  27. Gillingham, S., & Lee, P. C. (1999). The impact of wildlife-related benefits on the conservation attitudes of local people around the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. Environmental Conservation, 26(3), 218–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gubbi, S., Linkie, M., & Leader-Williams, N. (2009). Evaluating the legacy of an integrated conservation and development project around a tiger reserve in India. Environmental Conservation, 35(4), 331–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Guhl, A. (2009). Café, bosques y certificación agrícola en Aratoca, Santander. Revista de Estudios Sociales, 32, 114–125.Google Scholar
  30. Herzon, I., & Mikk, M. (2007). Farmers’ perceptions of biodiversity and their willingness to enhance it through agri-environment schemes: A comparative study from Estonia and Finland. Journal for Nature Conservation, 15, 10–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hughes, J. B., Daily, G. C., & Ehrlich, P. R. (2002). Conservation of tropical forest birds in countryside habitats. Ecology Letters, 5(1), 121–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hungerford, H. R., & Volk, T. L. (1990). Changing learner behavior through environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education, 21(3), 8–22.Google Scholar
  33. Jacobson, S. K., McDuff, M. D., & Monroe, M. C. (2006). Conservation education and outreach techniques. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jacobson, S. K., Sieving, K. E., Jones, G. A., & Van Doorn, A. (2003). Assessment of farmer attitudes and behavioral intentions toward bird conservation on organic and conventional Florida farms. Conservation Biology, 17(2), 595–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jensen, B. B. (2002). Knowledge, action and pro-environmental behaviour. Environmental Education Research, 8(3), 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kainer, K., DiGiano, M. L., Duchelle, A. E., Wadt, L. H. O., & Dain, J. L. (2009). Partnering for greater success: Local stakeholders and research in tropical biology and conservation. Biotropica, 41(5), 555–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Katzev, R. D., & Johnson, T. R. (1987). Promoting energy conservation: An analysis of behavioral research. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kideghesho, J. R., Røskaft, E., & Kaltenborn, B. P. (2007). Factors influencing conservation attitudes of local people in Western Serengeti, Tanzania. Biodiversity Conservation, 16, 2213–2230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kollmus, A., & Agyeman, J. (2002). Mind the gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior? Environmental Education Research, 8(3), 239–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kruse, C. K., & Card, J. A. (2004). Effects of a conservation education camp program on campers’ self-reported knowledge, attitude and behavior. Journal of Environmental Education, 35(4), 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Laubhan, M. K., & Gammonley, J. H. (2001). Agricultural producers’ perceptions of Sandhill Cranes in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 29(2), 639–645.Google Scholar
  42. Lee, H. F., & Zhang, D. D. (2008). Perceiving the environment from the lay perspective in desertified areas, northern China. Environmental Management, 41, 168–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lentijo, G. M., Arbeláez, D., Castellanos, O., Franco, N. G., López, A. M., & Botero, J. E. (2008). Enfoques participativos en investigación como una herramienta de conservación de las aves en zonas cafeteras de Colombia. Ornitología Neotropical, 19(Suppl.), 567–574.Google Scholar
  44. Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140.Google Scholar
  45. López del Toro, P., Andresen, E., Barraza, L., & Estrada, A. (2009). Attitudes and knowledge of shade-coffee farmers towards vertebrates and their ecological functions. Tropical Conservation Science, 2(3), 299–318.Google Scholar
  46. Margoluis, R., Russell, V., González, M., Rojas, O., Magdaleno, J., Madrid, G., et al. (2001). Maximum yield? Sustainable agriculture as a tool for conservation. Washington, DC: Biodiversity Support Program.Google Scholar
  47. McIvor, D. E., & Conover, M. R. (1994). Perceptions of farmers and non-farmers toward management of problem wildlife. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 22, 212–219.Google Scholar
  48. McKenzie-Mohr, D., & Smith, W. (1999). Fostering sustainable behavior. British Columbia, CA: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  49. Mehta, J. N., & Heinen, J. T. (2001). Does community-based conservation shape favorable attitudes among locals? An empirical study from Nepal. Environmental Management, 28(2), 165–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mercer, D. E. (2004). Adoption of agroforestry innovations in the tropics: A review. Agroforestry Systems, 61–62, 311–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Monroe, M. (2003). Two avenues for encouraging conservation behaviors. Human Ecology Review, 10(2), 113–125.Google Scholar
  52. Msuya, C. P., & Duvel, G. H. (2007). The role of independent and intervening variables in maize growers’ adoption of seed spacing in the Njombe district of Tanzania. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, 36, 109–123.Google Scholar
  53. Muriel, S. B., & Kattan, G. H. (2009). Effects of patch size and type of coffee matrix on Ithomiine butterfly diversity and dispersal in cloud-forest fragments. Conservation Biology, 23(4), 948–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Napier, T. L. (1998). Conservation coalitions cannot overcome poor conservation programming. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 53(4), 300–303.Google Scholar
  55. Potts, J., van der Meer, J., & Daitchman, J. (2010). The State of sustainability initiatives review 2010: Sustainability and transparency. http://www.iisd.org/publications/pub.aspx?pno=1363 Accessed 13 April 2012.
  56. Rainforest Alliance. (2010). Sustainable agriculture, coffee. Available from: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture.cfm?id=coffee. Accessed 6 February 2010.
  57. Reed, M. S. (2008). Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review. Biological Conservation, 141, 2417–2431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rosenberg, S., & Margerum, R. D. (2008). Landowner motivations for watershed restoration: Lessons from five watersheds. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 51(4), 477–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H. E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). California: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  60. Salazar, H. M., Duque, H., Lentijo, G. M., & Botero, J. E. (2007). Descripción del uso actual de la biodiversidad por parte de los caficultores. In P. S. Baker & H. Duque (Eds.), Guía para la caficultura sostenible en Colombia: Un trabajo articulado con los caficultores, extensionistas y la comunidad (pp. 160–181). Chinchiná, Colombia: Cenicafé.Google Scholar
  61. Selebatso, M., Moe, S. R., & Swenson, J. E. (2008). Do farmers support Cheetah Acynonyx jubatus conservation in Botswana despite livestock depredation? Oryx, 42(3), 430–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Selener, D. (2005). Definitions, assumptions, characteristics and types of participatory research. In: J. Gonsalves, T. Becker, A. Braun, D. Campilan, H. De Chavez, E. Fajber, M. Kapiriri, J. Rivaca-Caminade & R. Vernooy (Eds.), Participatory research and development for sustainable agriculture and natural resource management: A sourcebook. Volume 1: Understanding participatory research and development (pp. 5–15). Ottawa, Canada: International Potato Center and International Development Research Centre.Google Scholar
  63. Sheil, D., & Lawrence, A. (2004). Tropical biologists, local people and conservation: New opportunities for collaboration. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 19, 634–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Shi, T., & Gill, R. (2005). Developing effective policies for the sustainable development of ecological agriculture in China: The case study of Jinshan County with a systems dynamics model. Ecological Economics, 53(2), 223–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith-Sebasto, N. J., & Semrau, H. J. (2004). Evaluation of the Environmental Education Program at the New Jersey School of Conservation. The Journal of Environmental Education, 36(1), 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Stern, M. J., Powell, R. B., & Ardoin, N. M. (2008). Assessing outcomes from participation in a residential environmental education program. The Journal of Environmental Education, 39(4), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sustainable Agriculture Network. (2010). Sustainable agriculture standard, July 2010, version 2. http://sanstandards.org/sitio/subsections/display/9 Accessed 11 April 2012.
  68. Vanclay, F. (2004). Social principles for agricultural extension to assist in the promotion of natural resource management. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 44, 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Vermeulen, S., & Sheil, D. (2006). Partnerships for tropical conservation. Oryx, 41, 434–440.Google Scholar
  70. Winters, P., Crissman, C. C., & Espinosa, P. (2004). Inducing the adoption of conservation technologies: Lessons from the Ecuadorian Andes. Environment and Development Economics, 9, 695–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zint, M., Kraemer, A., Northway, H., & Lim, M. (2002). Evaluation of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Conservation Education Programs. Conservation Biology, 16(3), 641–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife Ecology and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.National Coffee Research CentreCenicaféManizalesColombia

Personalised recommendations