“Reforestation culture” and other necessary conditions for increasing farmer buy-in to reforestation projects in southern Bahia, Brazil

Authors: Kira Sullivan-Wiley*, IBES
Topics: Behavioral Geography, Environmental Perception, Land Use
Keywords: reforestation, Brazil, PES, mental models, culture
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The vast majority of the historically extensive Atlantic forest of Brazil has been deforested over the past decades, leaving much of the remnant forest in the hands of private landowners. Reforestation efforts on this land holds the joint potential for significant carbon sequestration and supporting the conservation of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Evidence suggests that the landholders themselves might benefit from increased reforestation, not only as it will bring the (many non-compliant) properties in line with Brazilian forest law, but also through improvements to water security. Despite these benefits, however, and the presence of material incentives, many payment for ecosystem service (PES) projects focusing on reforestation still exhibit low uptake and participation. Our research assesses the role that social and individual factors play in shaping a landowner’s intent to reforest, with or without a financial incentive. Our work asks the question: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to produce reforestation behavior? What is the perception of the role of older adults, younger adults, and children in the creation and expression of "reforestation culture" and how do people conceive of the role of government in facilitating "reforestation culture"? We look at these questions in the context of the historic cocoa production region of southern Bahia, Brazil. Our findings explore the importance of the complexity and depth of environmental mental models as facilitators and constraints of the formation of “reforestation culture”.

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