|DOI / URL
||How do individual farmers’ objectives influence their evaluation of rangeland management strategies under a variable climate?
||Jakoby, O.; Quaas, M.F.; Müller, B.; Baumgärtner, S.; Frank, K.;
|Journal / Serie
||Journal of Applied Ecology
|POF III (gesamt)
||Agro-ecology; climate change; ecological–economic modelling; economic evaluation; livestock; risk management; rotational grazing; semi-arid rangelands
decisions by farmers are influenced by complex interrelations of
ecological, economic and social factors. Of equal importance are the
individual farmers’ objectives. However, their relevance has been rarely
considered in analyses of management decisions in farming systems. This
study systematically analyses the role of farmers’ objectives in their
decision-making under various climatic conditions, with dryland grazing
systems as a case study.
- We develop a generic
ecological–economic simulation model to compare the performance of a
range of fixed grazing strategies under two objectives: (i) maximising
expected utility under risk-aversion and (ii) achieving stochastic
viability (‘safety-first’). We investigate combined effects of several
management components in rotational grazing systems and assess the
robustness of the results under different climate scenarios.
two objectives considered have structurally different outcomes. The
evaluation under the objective to maximise (risk-averse) expected
utility indicates a trade-off between mean income and income variability
under which farmers would choose one individually optimal management
strategy depending on their risk preferences. In contrast, a whole set
of strategies is viable under the safety-first objective. Thus, it
offers a solution space for decision-support rather than selecting a
single optimal strategy.
- Under both objectives, economically
preferable strategies share common characteristics: Short standing time,
large paddock number and reasonably high stocking rate improve the
efficiency of a farm enterprise in terms of higher mean income, lower
variance, coverage of certain minimum income requirements while
preserving pasture quality.
- Synthesis and applications.
The outcomes of this study contribute to both management support at the
farm scale and policy advice at the regional scale and beyond. An
insight of practical relevance for individual farmers is that a strategy
type with high-intensity, short-duration grazing management appears to
be most robust under changing climate and economic conditions.
Nevertheless, considering individual farmers’ objectives is essential
for determining the individually optimal strategy. Furthermore, for
policy makers, we provide an approach to evaluate policy programs
governing farming activities in terms of effectiveness and implications
(particularly side-effects). The explicit consideration of the diversity
of individual objectives is crucial for avoiding counterproductive
incentives and improving sustainability of land-use policies.
|Jakoby, O., Quaas, M.F., Müller, B., Baumgärtner, S., Frank, K. (2014):
How do individual farmers’ objectives influence their evaluation of rangeland management strategies under a variable climate?
J. Appl. Ecol. 51 (2), 483 - 493