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Wednesday, February 8 • 9:20am - 9:40am
Symposia Session - S9: Landscape Conservation Science and Management. Leopold's the Land Ethic and Conservation Perceptions of Illinois Farmers

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AUTHORS: Laura Schwiezer, Illinois Natural History Survey; Craig A. Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jerry J. Vaske, Colorado State University

ABSTRACT: Farmers’ land use value orientations, land ethic, and perceived responsibilities were examined to determine relationships that may influence implementation of conservation practices on their lands. Through a mail survey administered to 3,000 randomly sampled agriculture producers in Illinois during 2015, the questionnaire investigated management practices, conservation program enrollment, and landscape values. Land value orientations were measured using mutualism and domination as the two basic beliefs. Land ethics was operationalized through a series of five statements derived from Leopold’s The Lands Ethic set to a 7-point scale. Perceived responsibility was measured using four statements examining farmers’ conceptualizations of their practices on local, state, and regional water quality. A partial mediation Structural Equation Model (SEM) indicated that mutualism value orientations positively influenced both land ethic and perceived responsibility. Domination value orientations negatively influenced land ethic and had no significant effect on perceived responsibility. Results suggest the data fit the model; findings support the cognitive hierarchy and hypotheses that there are connections between farmers’ land ethic, value orientations. Understanding farmers’ perceptions of their responsibilities will enhance understanding  how these responsibilities translate into conservation behaviors. 

Wednesday February 8, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am CST
Grand Ballroom E