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Intention of preserving forest remnants among landowners in the Atlantic Forest: The role of the ecological context via ecosystem services

Campos Tisovec-Dufner K., Teixeira L., de Lima Marin G., Coudel E., Morsello C., Pardini R.. 2019. People and Nature, 1 (4) : p. 533-547.

Unravelling the psychological processes determining landowners' support towards forest conservation is crucial, particularly in rural areas of the tropics, where most forest remnants are within private lands. As human¿nature connections are known to shape pro-environmental behaviours, the intention of preserving forest remnants should ultimately be determined by the ecological context people live in. Here, we investigate the pathways through which the ecological context (forest cover), via direct contact with forests and ecosystem services and disservices, influence the psychological antecedents of conservation behaviour (beliefs, attitude and intention of preserving forest remnants). We conceptualized a model based on the Reasoned Action Approach, using the ecological context and these three forest experiences as background factors, and tested the model using Piecewise Structural Equation Modelling. Data were collected through an interview-based protocol applied to 106 landowners across 13 landscapes varying in forest cover in a consolidated rural region in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Our results indicate that: (a) ecosystem services are more important than disservices for shaping intention of preserving forests, particularly non-provisioning services; (b) contact with forest has an indirect effect on intention, by positively influencing the frequency of receiving ecosystem services; (c) people living in more forested ecological contexts have more contact with forests, receive ecosystem services more frequently and, ultimately, have stronger intention of preserving forests. Hence, our study suggests a dangerous positive feedback loop between deforestation, the extinction of forest experiences and impairment of human¿nature connections. Local demands across the full range of ecosystem services, the balance between services and disservices and the ecological context people live in should be considered when developing conservation initiatives in tropical rural areas.

Thématique : Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Foresterie - Considérations générales; Ecologie végétale

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