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Framing the private land conservation conversation: Strategic framing of the benefits of conservation participation could increase landholder engagement

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Reed


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How conservation messages are framed will impact the success of our efforts to engage people in conservation action. This is highly relevant in the private land conservation (PLC) sector given the low participation rates of landholders. Using a case study of PLC schemes targeted at Australian landholders, we present the first systematic analysis of communication strategies used by organisations and government departments delivering those schemes to engage the public. We develop a novel approach for analysing the framing of conservation messages that codes the stated benefits of schemes according to value orientation. We categorised the benefits as flowing to either the landholder, to society, or to the environment, corresponding to the egoistic, altruistic and biospheric value orientations that have been shown to influence human behaviour. We find that messages are biased towards environmental benefits. Surprisingly, this is the case even for market-based schemes that have the explicit objective of appealing to production-focussed landholders and those who are not already involved in conservation. The risk is that PLC schemes framed in this way will fail to engage more egoistically oriented landholders and are only likely to appeal to those likely to already be conservation-minded. By understanding the frame in which PLC benefits are communicated, we can begin to understand the types of people who may be engaged by these messages, and who may not be. Results suggest that the framing of the communications for many schemes could be broadened to appeal to a more diverse group (and thus ultimately to a larger group) of landholders. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kusmanoff AM, Hardy MJ, Fidler F, Maffey G, Raymond C, Reed MS, Fitzsimons JA, Bekessy SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science & Policy

Year: 2016

Volume: 61

Pages: 124-128

Print publication date: 01/07/2016

Online publication date: 18/04/2016

Acceptance date: 28/03/2016

ISSN (print): 1462-9011

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6416

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.03.016


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