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.
- 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 conservation biodiversity management participation decisions Environmental Sciences & Ecology