Improving conservation outcomes in agricultural landscapes: farmer perceptions of native vegetation on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Springer Nature
With agriculture the primary driver of biodiversity loss, farmers are increasingly expected to produce environmental outcomes and protect biodiversity. However, lack of attention to the way farmers perceive native vegetation has resulted in conservation targets not being met. The Yorke Peninsula (YP), South Australia, is an agricultural landscape where < 5% of vegetation remains on private properties and roadsides. To identify YP farmers’ barriers to vegetation conservation on the roadside and private properties, we interviewed 35 farmers representing 56,980 ha of farms (11% of the YP area) and three agronomists. We identified five barriers to conservation: (1) negative perceptions of roadside vegetation and (2) management bodies; (3) absence of effective conservation programs making use of farmers’ motivations; (4) > 50% farmers perceived that long-term planning was for ≤ 30 years, not enough time to promote ecosystem conservation; (5) a lack of natural resource management information for farmers—as a result, farmers relied on their own experience to manage vegetation. Furthermore, most farmers depended on agronomists, who generally had no stake in biodiversity conservation. We recommend that (1) the Local Council restore social capital by liaising with farmers to promote roadside vegetation (2) long-term farmer-led conservation action be established and supported by Government and industry acting as facilitators rather than project managers; (3) a change in policy and training promote the involvement of agronomists in conservation and its management on private properties; (4) all levels of Government develop schemes to demonstrate the tangible benefits of native vegetation as habitat for wildlife; (5) on-farm conservation be celebrated as successful farming.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: agricultural advisor; agronomists; biodiveristy conservation on farm; long-term planning; roadside vegetation; social capital.
Amato, B., Petit, S. Improving conservation outcomes in agricultural landscapes: farmer perceptions of native vegetation on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. Agric Hum Values (2023).