Framing the private land conservation conversation: Strategic framing of the benefits of conservation participation could increase landholder engagement

Date: 18, Apr, 2016
Author(s):   Alexander Kusmanoff, Mathew Hardy, Fiona Fidler, Georgina Maffey, Christopher Raymond, M. S. Reed, James Fitzsimons, Sarah Bekessy
Publisher: Environmental Science & Policy

How conservation messages are framed will impact the success of our efforts to engage people in conservation action. This is highly relevant in the private land conservation (PLC) sector given the low participation rates of landholders. Using a case study of PLC schemes targeted at Australian landholders, we present the first systematic analysis of communication strategies used by organisations and government departments delivering those schemes to engage the public. We develop a novel approach for analysing the framing of conservation messages that codes the stated benefits of schemes according to value orientation. We categorised the benefits as flowing to either the landholder, to society, or to the environment, corresponding to the egoistic, altruistic and biospheric value orientations that have been shown to influence human behaviour. We find that messages are biased towards environmental benefits.