To successfully implement sustainability innovations, it is crucial to gain knowledge about their acceptability by potential users. This paper addresses the acceptability of land pools for the sustainable revalorization of wetland meadows using two case studies in a cultural landscape (CL) in Germany. The aim of this study is to analyse factors that influence the decisions of landowners and farmers towards these land pools. Therefore, we developed a sociologically driven framework of acceptability. We applied structured qualitative text analysis for analysing qualitative interviews. The results show that acceptability differs between the two case study areas and between interviewees. The value-based appreciation of the CL is high, but does not lead “per se” to a positive acceptance of the land pools. Reasons for this are the lack of shared values and the existence of diverging opinions about the objectives of land pools. Additional important factors are previous experiences, level of participation, and trust in actors or institutions. A recommendation is that discussion of values of nature supports the identification of shared values. A clear description of the problem and embedding the concept in a systematic strategy for regional development could enhance acceptability. For the success of similar sustainability innovations, it is essential to design a fair innovation process (transparent communication and active actors’ involvement). A theoretical-conceptual conclusion is that the acceptability framework supports qualitative, in-depth and actor-centred analyses focussing on linkages between values and arguments on different levels. The framework also reveals diverse and previously unknown factors.
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