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The farmer as a landscape steward: Comparing local understandings of landscape stewardship, landscape values, and land management actions

Abstract

We develop a landscape stewardship classification which distinguishes between farmers’ understanding of landscape stewardship, their landscape values, and land management actions. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with small-holder (<5 acres), medium-holders (5–100 acres), and large-holders (>100 acres) in South-West Devon, UK. Thematic analysis revealed four types of stewardship understandings: (1) an environmental frame which emphasized the farmers’ role in conserving or restoring wildlife; (2) a primary production frame which emphasized the farmers’ role in taking care of primary production assets; (3) a holistic frame focusing on farmers’ role as a conservationist, primary producer, and manager of a range of landscape values, and; (4) an instrumental frame focusing on the financial benefits associated with compliance with agri-environmental schemes. We compare the landscape values and land management actions that emerged across stewardship types, and discuss the global implications of the landscape stewardship classification for the engagement of farmers in landscape management.

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Acknowledgments

This research received support through Grant 603447 (Project HERCULES) from the European Commission (7th Framework Program). The paper is a contribution to the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (www.pecs-science.org) and the Global Land Project (www.globallandproject.org).

Author information

Correspondence to Christopher M. Raymond.

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Raymond, C.M., Bieling, C., Fagerholm, N. et al. The farmer as a landscape steward: Comparing local understandings of landscape stewardship, landscape values, and land management actions. Ambio 45, 173–184 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0694-0

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Keywords

  • Conservation behavior
  • Social values
  • Environmental management
  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Production behavior