What drives landholders to tender for conservation?

Tender programs are an increasingly common way of engaging landowners to undertake conservation actions on their land. High participation is critical to these schemes as competition is required for the cost-effectiveness benefits of the tender system to be fully realized. However, there is limited knowledge on why landholders participate in tender programs.

This study aims to identify the relative importance of different drivers of participation in conservation tenders being run in the state of Victoria. Because of the small sample size available, the researchers employed the novel method of maximum entropy ordinal regression to undertake the analysis. They supplemented this with qualitative data obtained through face-to-face interviews.

The regression analysis revealed that strong relationships between agencies and landholders (relationships that were respectful and continuous) and a low administrative burden drive increased participation. The provision of education, support, and easily-integrated management practices, however, may drive lower participation, with landholders confident to undertake conservation activities independently of assistance.

Some evidence emerged that ten-year contracts may be well-received. A key concern is low additionality in biodiversity benefits, with typical tender participants displaying a strong conservation ethic and high levels of management activity pre-participation. This work has shown that in conservation policies involving self-selection by participants, economic incentives for adoption may be less important than non-monetary drivers.


Blackmore L & Doole GJ (2013). Drivers of landholder participation in tender programs for Australian biodiversity conservation. Environmental Science & Policy 33:143-153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2013.05.010

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