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Policy mechanism choice for environmental management by non-commercial "lifestyle" rural landholders


  • Pannell, David J.
  • Wilkinson, Roger


For some environmental assets in rural areas, the landholders who are having the biggest impact are people with small holdings and an emphasis on lifestyle rather than commercial gains from their land. This paper aims to better understand the motivations and likely responses to policy for lifestyle landholders in Australia, in order to assess which policy mechanisms, if any, are likely to be most efficiently used to influence their land management. Through face-to-face interviews, we find that lifestyle landholders have important differences from commercial farmers, including much smaller properties, a stronger interest in environmental outcomes, a lack of land-management skills and a lack of time for land-management activities. From the perspective of environmental policy programs, engaging with lifestyle landholders is likely to involve higher transaction costs, and there are likely to be higher learning and transition costs per unit area. A framework for selection of policy tools is modified to take account of these findings. It is concluded that the prospects for worthwhile public investments in land-use changes by lifestyle landholders are lower than for commercial landholders.

Suggested Citation

  • Pannell, David J. & Wilkinson, Roger, 2009. "Policy mechanism choice for environmental management by non-commercial "lifestyle" rural landholders," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2679-2687, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2679-2687

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David J. Pannell, 2008. "Public Benefits, Private Benefits, and Policy Mechanism Choice for Land-Use Change for Environmental Benefits," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(2), pages 225-240.
    2. Ceddia, M.G. & Heikkil, J. & Peltola, J., 2009. "Managing invasive alien species with professional and hobby farmers: Insights from ecological-economic modelling," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1366-1374, March.
    3. David J. Pannell, 2009. "Technology change as a policy response to promote changes in land management for environmental benefits," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(1), pages 95-102, January.
    4. Unknown, 2005. "Trends in Australian Agriculture," Commission Research Papers 31903, Productivity Commission.
    5. Pannell, David J., 2001. "Dryland salinity: economic, scientific, social and policy dimensions," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(4), pages 1-30.
    6. Unknown, 2005. "Australian Pigmeat Industry," Inquiry Reports 31893, Productivity Commission.
    7. Marsh, Sally P. & Pannell, David J. & Lindner, Robert K., 2004. "Does agricultural extension pay?: A case study for a new crop, lupins, in Western Australia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 17-30, January.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. 287 – Farmers like trees
      by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2015-11-16 21:00:23


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    Cited by:

    1. Pannell, David J. & Roberts, Anna M. & Park, Geoff & Alexander, Jennifer, 2013. "Improving environmental decisions: A transaction-costs story," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 244-252.
    2. van Grieken, M.E. & Roebeling, P.C. & Bohnet, I.C. & Whitten, S.M. & Webster, A.J. & Poggio, M. & Pannell, D., 2019. "Adoption of agricultural management for Great Barrier Reef water quality improvement in heterogeneous farming communities," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 1-8.
    3. Kam, Hermann & Metternicht, Graciela & Baumber, Alex & Cross, Rebecca, 2019. "Engaging absentee landholders in ecosystem service delivery in south-eastern Australia," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    4. Polyakov, Maksym & Pannell, David J. & Pandit, Ram & Tapsuwan, Sorada & Park, Geoff, 2013. "Valuing Environmental Assets on Rural Lifestyle Properties," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), pages 1-17, April.
    5. David J. Pannell & Anna M. Roberts, 2010. "Australia's National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality: a retrospective assessment ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), pages 437-456, October.
    6. Lee-Ann Sutherland & Carla Barlagne & Andrew P. Barnes, 2019. "Beyond ‘Hobby Farming’: towards a typology of non-commercial farming," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 36(3), pages 475-493, September.


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