This chapter provides insights for regional natural resource management (NRM) practitioners seeking to influence property management by rural landholders. We aim to bridge the gap between policy and management by providing improved understanding of changes in the social structure of rural areas and the impact of these changes and other influences on landholder decisions. We draw upon a number of theoretical frameworks, including the adoption literature. We also draw upon a substantial body of empirical research exploring the social structure of rural areas and landholder implementation of sustainable farming and biodiversity practices, including recent studies undertaken in the Corangamite and Wimmera regions of Victoria. Our research was intended to help regional NRM practitioners engage rural landholders; develop an effective mix of policy approaches; and evaluate the accomplishment of intermediate NRM program objectives. Key findings include: (1) only part of the implementation of conservation activities by landholders can be directly attributed to investment by NRM programs; (2) investing in NRM programs that engage human and social capital is an effective way of influencing the property management of landholders; and (3) NRM practitioners need to be aware that they will be engaging a very different cohort of rural landholders than in the past, with significantly increased proportions of non-farmers and absentee property owners.
|Title of host publication||Changing land management|
|Subtitle of host publication||Adoption of new practices by rural landholders|
|Editors||David Pannell, Frank Vanclay|
|Place of Publication||Collingwood|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|