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Understanding Farmers’ Perceptions and Behaviors towards Farmland Quality Change in Northeast China: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Hongbin Liu () and Xiaojuan Luo ()
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Hongbin Liu: College of Land and Environment, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110161, China
Xiaojuan Luo: Jiangxi Economic Development Research Institute, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 9, 1-17

Abstract: Farmland protection is the most important land science research issue in developing countries, especially in China, due to serious land degradation. This paper aimed to reveal the causal chain among driving factors, farmers’ land protection perceptions, behavioral responses, and land quality change by applying a structural equation model (SEM), based on a cross-sectional dataset of 238 households surveyed, and matched plot soil sample results in the Sujiatun District, in Liaoning province, China. The results show that, compared to internal factors, external factors play more important roles in shaping farmers’ land protection awareness which subsequently transfer into land protection behaviors. Various land use behaviors lead to different impacts on land quality, in which the crop planting structure and land input density have dominant effects on changes in the soil nutrient content. The results imply that a stable and reasonable price mechanism for agricultural inputs and outputs is meaningful to land protection. Moderate land circulation would help reduce land fragmentation, develop agricultural modernization, improve production efficiency, and achieve economies of scale. In addition, knowledge, training and environmental policy information on farmland protection play key roles in land conservation activities. These main results have important implications for policymakers with regard to promoting land protection activities, alleviating land resource and environmental pressures, and thus achieving the goal of sustainable land use.

Keywords: farmland protection; farmer’s perceptions; behavior response; DSRE framework; structural models (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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