Effects of awareness on farmers' compliance with diffuse pollution mitigation measures: a conditional process modelling
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Despite several decades of research and financial commitment, diffuse water pollution remains a major problem threatening the health and resilience of social-ecological systems. New approaches to tackle diffuse pollution emphasise awareness raising and provision of advice with the aim of triggering behavioural change. However, empirical evidence on the effectiveness of this approach remains scarce and mixed, with most studies relying on smaller datasets and case studies. Using one of the largest datasets (N = 1,995) with this information, this study seeks to establish quantitatively the relationship between farmers’ stated awareness of diffuse pollution mitigation measures and their compliance with them, through the analysis of Scotland’s pioneer advice-driven approach. Results from a conditional process modelling suggest awareness might not directly determine compliance but influences it indirectly through the mediating effect of other environmental management practices (in this study reflected in participation in agri-environmental schemes). This mediated relationship appears to be contingent on farm type and location. This would indicate that while public efforts in awareness creation is important, awareness alone is not sufficient to improve compliance; farmers may need to consistently engage in environmental management practices to develop a deeper understanding of the problem and action strategies. In this context, agri-environmental schemes appear to provide an opportunity for the creation of tacit knowledge and understanding of diffuse pollution mitigation measures through experiential learning which may also lead to the creation of new values.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Land Use Policy
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