Understanding how private landholders make deforestation decisions is of paramount importance for conservation. Behavioural frameworks from the social sciences have a lot to offer researchers and practitioners, yet these insights remain underutilised in describing what drives landholders’ deforestation intentions under important political, social, and management contexts. Using survey data of private landholders in Queensland, Australia, we compare the ability of two popular behavioural models to predict future deforestation intentions, and propose a more integrated behavioural model of deforestation intentions. We found that the integrated model outperformed other models, revealing the importance of threat perceptions, attitudes, and social norms for predicting landholders’ deforestation intentions. Social capital, policy uncertainty, and years of experience are important contextual moderators of these psychological factors. We conclude with recommendations for promoting behaviour change in this deforestation hotspot and highlight how others can adopt similar approaches to illuminate more proximate drivers of environmental behaviours in other contexts.
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This work was supported by the Discovery and Future Fellowship programs of the Australian Research Council, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CE11001000104), funded by the Australian Government.
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Simmons, B.A., Wilson, K.A. & Dean, A.J. Psychosocial drivers of land management behaviour: How threats, norms, and context influence deforestation intentions. Ambio (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01491-w
- Behaviour change
- Environmental behaviour
- Land clearing
- Natural resource management
- Protection Motivation Theory
- Theory of Planned Behaviour