Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s10113-021-01848-1
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Farmers’ action space to adopt sustainable practices: a study of arable farming in Saxony
Author Gütschow, M.; Bartkowski, B.; Felipe-Lucia, M.R.
Source Titel Regional Environmental Change
Year 2021
Department OEKON; iDiv; ESS
Volume 21
Issue 4
Page From art. 103
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Action space; Agriculture; Agri-environmental policy; Behavioral studies; Sustainability
Abstract The urgency to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and natural resource degradation requires major changes in agricultural practices. Agricultural policy in Germany has so far failed to generate such changes; meanwhile, public demands for new regulations are met by widespread farmers’ protests. Against this background, an improved understanding of the factors influencing farmers’ uptake of sustainable agricultural practices is necessary. This study introduces the concept of action space to analyze the role of barriers to change which lie beyond farmers’ perceived immediate control. We apply this conceptual framework to the case of diversified crop rotations in Saxony (Germany) and combine semi-structured interviews and a survey to identify key barriers to change and their relative weights. We find that farmers feel rather strongly restricted in their action space to implement diversified crop rotations for sustainable agriculture. The most important barriers pertain to the market environment, which severely limits the feasibility of many crops. In addition, limited regulatory predictability as well as regulatory incoherence and limited flexibility restrict farmers in their action space. The role of resource availability within the farm businesses as well as availability and accessibility of knowledge is ambiguous between interview and survey results. The analysis of interactions indicates that multiple barriers form a self-reinforcing system in which farmers perceive to have little leeway to implement sustainable practices. These results emphasize the need to create an enabling market and regulatory environment in which sustainable practices pay off.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Gütschow, M., Bartkowski, B., Felipe-Lucia, M.R. (2021):
Farmers’ action space to adopt sustainable practices: a study of arable farming in Saxony
Reg. Envir. Chang. 21 (4), art. 103 10.1007/s10113-021-01848-1