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Landowner motivations for watershed restoration: lessons from five watersheds

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Collaborative watershed management initiatives have increased tremendously over the past decade. One of the critical questions for these initiatives is how to influence private land management practices to improve watershed health. This article researches landowner motivations and preferences for watershed restoration efforts in five watersheds in Western Oregon. Based on a survey of 446 landowners and 80 personal interviews, the research revealed that landowner perspectives vary by socio-economic, cultural, and land use characteristics. They are strongly motivated by a concern for future generations and interpersonal influence is particularly important. Finances, time, and unfamiliarity were all significant barriers to the adoption of conservation practices. The findings also revealed considerable variation among landowners as to their trusted sources of information and preferred outreach methods. Beyond the findings in Oregon, the research suggests that watershed initiatives need to understand landowner characteristics and motivating factors to better promote watershed restoration and target outreach efforts.
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Keywords: community-based collaboratives; landowner behavior; watershed management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Politics & Environmental Studies, SUNY Potsdam, NY, USA 2: Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM), University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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