Collective agri-environment schemes: How can regional environmental cooperatives enhance farmers' intentions for agri-environment schemes?

William FA Van Dijk, Anne Marike Lokhorst, Frank Berendse, Geert R. de Snoo

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60 Citations (Scopus)


The effectiveness of agri-environment schemes (AES) in enhancing biodiversity on farmland and creating a long-lasting change in farmers' motivation towards a more environmental-friendly practice is still strongly debated. Applying a regional approach has been advocated widely to make AES more ecologically and socially sustainable. In the Netherlands, some AES are performed collectively by large regional groups of farmers called Environmental Cooperatives (EC). We hypothesise that these cooperatives enhance farmers' intention to participate by facilitating the application of AES, but also by generating group pressure. In the study at hand, we used an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to investigate which factors are associated with farmers' intention to participate in two kinds of collective AES (ditch bank management and the protection of meadow birds). Our results demonstrate that attitude and perceived personal ability to participate in these AES are associated with the intention of farmers to participate in ditch bank management. However, for the protection of meadow birds, social pressure, self-identity and facilitation by the EC also relate to the intention of farmers. We conclude that the facilitation undertaken by ECs positively relates to farmers' intention to participate in collective AES. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-766
Number of pages8
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date10 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank all farmers for filling out the questionnaire. Also we would like to thank Betty Blok, Anton de Wit, Leo Kramer, Rianne de Wit and Corrie van der Helm for providing the postal addresses for the farmers. Finally we are grateful to Jasper van Ruijven for commenting on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This research is part of the KBIV strategic research programme “Sustainable spatial development of ecosystems, landscapes, seas and regions” which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and carried out by Wageningen University & Research centre.


  • theory of planned behaviour
  • ditch bank management
  • meadow bird management
  • farmer behaviour
  • nature conservation
  • payment by results
  • perceived behavioral-control
  • planned behavior
  • agricultural landscapes
  • social identity
  • self-efficacy
  • group norms
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • management


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