Encouraging land managers to adopt practices that increase the quality of water running off farmland is amongst the foremost strategies for improving Great Barrier Reef water quality. One project is aiming to better ‘market’ these Best Management Practices (BMP) to previously disengaged or only partially engaged land managers to improve adoption rates of BMP.
Project 2.1.3 led by Professor Lynne Eagle at James Cook University, looks at all relevant behavioural influences amongst land managers to improve BMP adoption rates. This includes broadening past the idea that BMP can only be ‘sold’ using increased profits as incentives – data indicates many land managers and residents are motivated by socio-cultural and environmental reasons.
The project will evaluate data being collected now to find the most effective methods for ‘marketing’ water quality improvement strategies to increase BMP adoption rates.
Professor Eagle said building a meaningful rapport with land managers was vital to BMP adoption in GBR catchments.
“Some land managers and their families have been on their properties for 150 years and they know that they are stewards of that land,” Prof Eagle said.
“Others are saying ‘look, we are following BMP already and we still aren’t being recognised for it’ and then there’s others that say ‘it’s not my problem’ and continue with business as usual.
“What’s important is the standard segmentation of this industry and the understanding that it’s actually quite a diverse industry – there’s segments that are very motivated for social or environmental reasons and there’s others that are not convinced there’s a problem.”
“It’s vital that we find a way of communicating the science in a way that all the land managers can engage with and spread amongst themselves – not just the wording but also the presentation techniques we use, the imagery we use”.
“There’s so much misinformation out there through the media that unless you give this industry a clear, compelling reason and the tools and assistance they need to change, it’s not going to happen in the ways we need it to”.
“They need the NRM extension officers – experienced people on the ground talking to them and supporting them.”
Project team members, Dr Marina Farr and Rachel Hay are working with NRM’s to get the first primary rounds of surveys with land managers completed by late February 2017.