Lookup NU author(s): Dr Niki Rust,
Professor Mark Reed,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Soil quality is in decline in many parts of the world, in part due to the intensification of agricultural practices. Whilst economic instruments and regulations can help incentivise uptake of more sustainable soil management practices, they rarely motivate long-term behavior change when used alone. We are now beginning to pay attention to the complex social factors that affect uptake of sustainable soil management practices. To understand why some communities try these practices whilst others do not, we undertook a narrative review to understand how social capital influences adoption. We found that the four components of social capital – trust, norms, connectedness and power – can all influence the decision of farmers to change their soil management. Specifically, information flows more effectively across trusted, diverse networks where social norms exist to encourage innovation. Uptake is more limited in homogenous, close-knit farming communities that do not have many links with non-farmers and where there is a strong social norm to adhere to the status quo. Power can enhance or inhibit uptake depending on how it is managed. Future research, policy and practice should consider whether a lack of effective social capital could hinder uptake of new practices and, if so, which aspects of social capital could be developed to increase adoption of sustainable soil management practices. Enabling diverse, collaborative groups (including farmers, advisers and government officials) to work constructively together could help build effective social capital, where they can co-define, -develop and -enact measures to sustainably manage soils.
Author(s): Rust NA, Ptak EN, Graversgaard M, Iversen S, Reed MS, de Vries JR, Ingram J, Mills J, Neumann RK, Kjeldsen C, Muro M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Emerald Open Research - Sustainable Food Systems
Online publication date: 27/04/2020
Acceptance date: 27/04/2020
Date deposited: 28/04/2020
ISSN (electronic): 2631-3952
Publisher: Emerald Open Research
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