What Drives Ranchers’ Intention to Conserve Rangelands: The Role of Environmental Concern (A Case Study of Angoshteh Watershed in Borujerd County, Iran)

Document Type : Research and Full Length Article

Authors

Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agriculture, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

Abstract

There is growing concern about severe rangeland degradation caused mainly by the overstocking and overgrazing of these lands, especially in developing countries. Since ranchers’ behaviors and practices are crucial determinants of rangelands conservation, this study was conducted to clarify the underlying constructs of ranchers' intention to conserve rangelands. It is based on an extended theory of planned behavior. The extension was implemented by adding environmental concern. The survey was conducted in 2020. Data were collected through questionnaires completed by a sample of 120 ranchers in the Angoshteh watershed in Borujerd county, Iran. The questionnaire validity was confirmed by faculty members and experts in the field, and its reliability was confirmed in a pilot study by Cronbach's alpha. Data were analyzed through the partial least squares structural equation model method, using SmartPLS 3.2. The results indicated that the extended TPB explains 0.79% of the variance of ranchers’ intention to conserve rangelands. According to the results, all three of the TPB’s psychological variables, namely attitude towards conserving rangelands (β = 0.58, p < 0.01), subjective norms (β = 0.20, p < 0.01), and perceived behavioral control (β = 0.17, p < 0.05), were related significantly to ranchers’ intentions to conserve rangelands. Further, environmental concern had a positive and significant relation to attitude towards conserving rangelands (β = 0.55, p < 0.01), subjective norms (β = 0.31, p < 0.01), and perceived behavioral control (β = 0.73, p < 0.01). In addition, environmental concern was related indirectly and significantly to ranchers’ intentions to conserve rangelands through its antecedents. Therefore, policymakers, experts, and extension agents of natural resources can influence the behavior of ranchers with respect to conserving rangelands by emphasizing these variables.

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