Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Master class Adoption of agricultural and conservation practices: Insights from behavioral theory and the decision making process

Date: 02 May 2017
Location: Wageningen

This course will examine individual’s behaviour towards adopting conservation practices using different approaches that include economic, social and psychological aspects of the decision making process. The relevance of conservation and the understanding of motivations and restrictions that individuals have to engage in conservation practices is relevant due to the high degree of soil erosion and unsecure water availability. Roughly 80% of the land dedicated to agricultural activities worldwide exhibits moderate to severe erosion. Soil degradation is a challenging issue not only because it causes a reduction in land productivity, but also because it is strongly linked to desertification and rural poverty. In addition, irrigation water has an important function in agricultural productivity and food security, but it is becoming a progressively more scarce resource, especially in a context of climate change where global precipitation patterns are already altered. In economic terms, farmers adopt technologies and conservation strategies that they perceive to be profitable; however, socioeconomic, cultural, and natural resource factors affect the rate at which farmers adopt conservation strategies.

Since the topic is broad, the objective of the course is to provide an overview of different approaches that have been used to explain individuals’ behaviour. More specifically, the aim is to: a) provide a conceptual framework to help understanding behaviour, b) analyse examples of studies in different areas of the globe that can provide distinct insights of conservation issues, and c) enable students to question and develop critical thinking about conservation strategies.

Target group and learning outcomes

The course is designed for PhD candidates from different disciplines within the social and natural sciences. The aim of the course to have a rich exchange of experiences. Therefore all PhDs interested in conservation and the adoption of technologies in the agricultural sector are encouraged to come.

Learning outcomes.

After successful completion participants are expected to be able to:

  • Describe in a more comprehensive way producers decision-making processes.
  • Develop a critical thinking about the public policies oriented to increase recourses conservation.
  • Include in their own projects an additional research perspective

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