Management of Farm Woodlots and Windbreaks: Some Psychological and Landscape Patterns

Donna Erickson
Raymond De Young

DOI: 10.2190/U33D-JTCV-NR5K-KXB1


This article reports on the relationship between measures of farmers' conservation attitudes and motivations on the one hand, and their self-reported and observed management of windbreaks and woodlots on the other. The study was conducted on historic farms where tenureship is, on average, over four generations. A survey instrument assessed farmers' attitudes about farming, the benefits of using trees on farms, the aesthetics of the rural landscape, motivation and their self-reported conservation practices. An analysis of landscape patterns on respondents' farms was conducted by analysis of aerial photography. Findings suggest that a conventional, externally motivated approach to farming results in reduced use of farm woodlots and windbreaks. In contrast, an approach based upon aesthetic and intrinsic forces is predictive of increased use and maintenance of woodlots and windbreaks. It is suggested that the promotion of conservation practices on farms may benefit from subtle, non-economic interventions as well as from financial and regulatory approaches.

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