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Landowner concerns related to availability of ecosystem services and environmental issues in the southern United States

Ram K. Adhikari, Robert K. Grala, Stephen C. Grado, Donald L. Grebner and Daniel Petrolia ()

Ecosystem Services, 2021, vol. 49, issue C

Abstract: The effectiveness of conservation initiatives on private lands in the southern United States plays an important role in improving provision of ecosystem services and mitigating negative environmental impacts. However, participation in conservation efforts is in part affected by landowner concern about environmental issues. This study used a seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) to quantify the impacts of local environmental conditions (e.g., air and water pollution, population density, and land cover type), private land attributes and sociodemographic factors on landowner ecosystem service and environmental concerns. The study involved a mail survey of private landowners in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and East Gulf Coastal Plain sub-geographies of the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative. At least 37% of landowners were extremely concerned about drinking water quality, drinking water quantity, soil erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, and loss of open spaces. Local environmental conditions and sociodemographic factors were only marginally related to landowner ecosystem service and environmental concerns, although these factors could affect landowner environmental attitudes, personal health and outdoor activities. Private land attributes, such as property size and landownership objectives, strongly influenced landowner concerns about environmental issues where landowners with larger agricultural land parcels, and who owned land for profit making and provision of ecosystem services were more concerned about environmental issues than other landowners. Conservation policies should focus not only on activities that address ecosystem service and environmental issues that are of concern to landowners but also help them attain their landownership objectives because such approach is more likely to increase their participation in conservation practices.

Keywords: Environmental concern; Landownership objective; Private land conservation; Seemingly unrelated regression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2021.101283

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