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Moving the middle

October 2021 -
Empowering land managers to act in complex rural landscapes
This 5-year Endeavour programme aims to give rural land managers confidence and agency to take early action to address complex environmental issues in increasingly uncertain environmental and societal settings. To do this, we will identify systemic, regulatory and behavioural barriers to widespread environmental sustainability and design effective triggers for behavioural change.

Past research has often assumed the problem of slow or incomplete uptake is an ‘information deficit’ and focused on either influencing land managers who are unwilling to change or understanding why those who proactively lead change act this way. This research will investigate the systemic aspects of agricultural land management and its impacts, focusing on the majority of land managers ‘in the middle’ who are willing to make necessary changes but are constrained by the systems surrounding them (e.g. finance, policy). 

Our social science research innovates and tests the behavioural triggers to help enable the middle cadre of rural land managers to proactively respond to the multiple environmental, market, and societal challenges they face. We partner with Crown Research Institutes, universities, government, and industry to research the agency of rural land managers, the systems surrounding them, and the influence of (a) public and private narratives; (b) debt loading and investment practices; (c) policy signals and perceptions; and (d) traditional and new agents of change in empowering rural land managers to respond proactively.    


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