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Ways of farming and ways of thinking: do farmers' mental models of the landscape relate to their land management practices ?

Vuillot, Carole and Coron, Nadège and Calatayud, François and Sirami, Clélia and Mathevet, Raphael and Gibon, Annick Ways of farming and ways of thinking: do farmers' mental models of the landscape relate to their land management practices ? (2016) Ecology and Society, 21 (1). 1-23. ISSN 1708-3087

(Document in English)

PDF (Author's version) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08281-210135


The efficiency of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy in mitigating the negative effects of agricultural intensification on the landscape and biodiversity is increasingly being questioned. Enhancing a reciprocal understanding of various stakeholders’ mental models of agro-social-ecosystems has been proposed to trigger changes in both policy design and farmers’ behaviors. However, the relationship between farmers’ mental models and practices is rarely considered. Here, we explore the relationship between farmers’ individual mental models (IMMs) of the agricultural landscape and their land management practices. To do so, we developed a theoretical and methodological framework grounded in cognitive psychology and farming system research for eliciting and comparing IMMs and land management practices. We applied this framework in the Coteaux de Gascogne territory, a hilly crop-livestock region in southern France. We identified groups of farmers according to their cropland and semi-natural habitat management practices. The results of our quantitative and qualitative comparisons of mental models between farmer groups showed that the way of farming partly relates to farmers’ ways of thinking about the landscape and highlighted the heterogeneity of IMMs between and within farmer groups. We found evidence that path-dependent factors that constrain farmers’ practices can modify their mental models, e.g., the role of agricultural machinery. Our study illustrates how an interdisciplinary framework coupling mental models and farming systems approaches provides an opportunity to enhance our understanding of the relationships between farmers’ world views and their practices. Moreover, our results challenge current ways of thinking and designing biodiversity conservation policies in farmed landscapes.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Resilience Alliance editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/ The original PDF of the article can be found at : http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol21/iss1/art35/
HAL Id:hal-01391248
ProdINRA Id:350495
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD (FRANCE)
Other partners > Montpellier SupAgro (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes - EPHE (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Montpellier 3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Montpellier (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:26 Oct 2016 12:36

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