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Differences in the attitudes of farmers and conservationists and their implications

Carr, S   Tait, J

Journal of Environmental Management   32 (3) 281-294

April 1991

Surveys of attitudes to conservation on farms conducted between 1983 and 1985 in Bedfordshire showed farmers to be as sympathetic to the idea as conservationists, at a superficial level. However, detailed analysis of attitudes to specific conservation-related farm management practices such as hedge removal, using the theory of reasoned action as an investigative tool, revealed the deep-seated divisions which exist between the two groups. Correlations between farmers' attitudes and behaviour showed that attitudes to farm productivity, efficiency and tidiness dominated management decisions to the exclusion of wildlife considerations. The importance of guiding attitude and behaviour change at a time of profound agricultural uncertainty, to avoid overt conflict between farmers and conservationists and promote conservation on farmland, is discussed.