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What is Private Land Stewardship? Lessons from Agricultural Opinion Leaders in North Carolina

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Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
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Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020297
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
The development of private land is a significant conservation concern globally. To conserve the ecosystem services associated with private lands, conservationists must understand landowner conceptions of stewardship and its role in decisions about land and natural resources. We began addressing this need with a survey of North Carolina Farm Bureau county advisory board members in North Carolina (n = 735). Nearly all respondents self-identified as stewards of the land (97%). More respondents indicated their stewardship responsibility was owed to future generations (87%) and family (77%), rather than to the community (41%) or society (26%). Respondents associated stewardship more with using natural resources wisely (78%) than leaving natural resources untouched (31%). Plans to bequeath land to relatives, the importance of soil conservation, and past participation in conservation programs were the most consistent predictors of how respondents viewed stewardship. Our results suggest that stewardship may be more effective when framed more as a benefit to family and future generations than to society and the community. Similarly, stewardship may be more effective for achieving conservation as opposed to the preservation of natural resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: stewardship; private lands; natural resources; conservation; North Carolina stewardship; private lands; natural resources; conservation; North Carolina
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Rodriguez, S.L.; Peterson, M.N.; Cubbage, F.W.; Sills, E.O.; Bondell, H.D. What is Private Land Stewardship? Lessons from Agricultural Opinion Leaders in North Carolina. Sustainability 2018, 10, 297.

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