• Open Access

Psycho-Social Factors Influencing Forest Conservation Intentions on the Agricultural Frontier

Authors

  • Matías E. Mastrangelo,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
    2. Unidad Integrada INTA Balcarce – Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Balcarce, Argentina
    3. National Council of Research and Technology (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • Correspondence

      Matías E. Mastrangelo, Unidad Integrada INTA Balcarce – Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, P.O. Box 276, Balcarce 7620, Argentina. Tel: +54 02266 439100 ext. 536; fax: +54 02266 439101.

      E-mail: matias.mastrangelo@vuw.ac.nz

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  • Michael C. Gavin,

    1. Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
    2. School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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  • Pedro Laterra,

    1. Unidad Integrada INTA Balcarce – Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Balcarce, Argentina
    2. National Council of Research and Technology (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • Wayne L. Linklater,

    1. Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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  • Taciano L. Milfont

    1. School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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  • Editor Mark Colyvan

Abstract

Remnant forest fragments are critical to conserve biological diversity yet these are lost rapidly in areas under agricultural expansion. Conservation planning and policy require a deeper understanding of the psycho-social factors influencing landholders’ intentions towards conserving forest fragments. We surveyed 89 landholders in an agricultural frontier of the South American Gran Chaco and employed survey data to test three social psychological models: the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and two modified versions of it, one integrated to the Norm Activation Theory (TPB-NAT) and one including the effect of identity (TPB-NAT-Identity). The TPB was the most parsimonious model and explained a large variance of conservation intentions (41%). Social norms and attitudes had the largest direct influence on intentions across the three models, and identity had a significant role in shaping social norms and attitudes. Interventions aimed at building social capital within landholder networks provide the best hope for influencing pro-conservation norms.

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