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Title: Exploring the long-term social and land management impacts on participants of the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme
Author: Cusworth, George
ISNI:       0000 0005 0286 9014
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2019
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Agri-environment schemes (AESs) offer remuneration for land managers who implement environmental management techniques onto their farms. Participation is voluntary, and the schemes are designed to go beyond the agri-environmental management standards placed on farmers by other policies. Between 2005 and 2014, Environmental Stewardship (ES) was England’s main agri-environment scheme. It was itself split into two tiers – Higher Level Stewardship and Entry Level Stewardship (ELS). This research project assesses the long-term impacts of the ELS tier of ES and focusses on the social, attitudinal and behavioural features of the scheme’s extended impact. The data was collected through 40 in-depth interviews, 24 of which also had a longitudinal, repeat interview component. The interviews took place in two different case-studies with contrasting agricultural profiles (landscape characteristics, representation of different farm systems). An important element of the research relates to the long-term management changes that participation has effected – specifically whether the participants had elected to preserve the management practices promoted by their scheme contracts. Interviews were conducted with contract holders at the end of their involvement with ELS and then shortly after the termination of their contracts as a means of attending to this particular research objective. For many participants, the scheme’s intervention has functioned as a habit-breaking force and has catalysed the long-term adoption of the scheme practices, beyond the extent of the contract’s duration. The research also contributes to the sociological study of environmental attitudes represented in the agricultural industry. Bourdieu’s social theory, along with the good farmer concept, are used to help understand the non-economic capitals associated with the implementation of agri-environmental practices. A small but valuable literature exists that centres around a Bourdieusian analysis of agri-environmental behaviours and attitudes, and this project is adding to that lineage. Participation in the ELS scheme, along with other wider cultural and economic forces are changing the position that environmental management occupies in the psychologies of the farmers. In managing a farm, the absence – rather than the adoption – of environmental management practices emerged as the approach more likely to attract the criticism of other members of the farming community. The bad farmer concept is developed to help account for the criticism and distaste for environmentally negligent behaviour, and the motivational force this exerts on the manager’s decision-making processes.
Supervisor: Mills, Jane ; Gaskell, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: S589.75 Agriculture and the environment ; S604.5 Agricultural conservation