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Doctoral thesis, 2022

Exploring layers of factors for farmers' adoption of ecological approaches

Leduc, Gaëlle


This thesis investigates different “layers” of factors for farmers’ adoption of ecological approaches, namely, individual, social and material layers of factors, with a mixed research methods approach. These layers of factors can be conceptualized using an onion as a metaphor, as factors influencing farmers’ behaviour can originate from the individual core, from the social environment or material environment, representing different layers in the onion. Starting from the outer layers, Paper I is focused on the material and social context that farmers are subjected to. It investigates how ecological approaches are justified in EU rural development policy by analysing policy discourses in Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) of six EU member states and regions, over three periods of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Secondly, Paper II explores factors from the inner layer of the onion, the individual layer, by investigating the types of values that drive farmers in their choice of farming system, specifically either organic or conventional. These two first papers make use of qualitative methods and are followed by Paper III, a systematic map which reviews studies using quantitative methods, from 2010 to 2022, on drivers about farmers’ adoption of ecological approaches. In regard to independent variables, Paper III examines all three layers of factors for adoption: individual, social and material. This thesis ends with Paper IV, a quantitative analysis exploring the role of behavioural factors on farmers’ adoption of agroforestry practices, including factors from the social and individual layers. It aims to fill the research gap found from results of Paper III on lack of evidence of identity as a driver for adoption.


farmers’ decision-making; ecological approaches; mixed research methods; public goods

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2022, number: 2022:48
ISBN: 978-91-7760-971-1, eISBN: 978-91-7760-972-8
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics

UKÄ Subject classification


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