Behaviours and attitudes in the management of nonpoint source pollution: Ping River Basin, Thailand
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Agricultural nonpoint source pollution is recognised as a major cause of water pollution. The characteristics of nonpoint source pollution suggest that an efficient approach should focus on a source control and hence land-use management. Recently, the concept of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) has been advanced as an efficient market-based approach to protect in-stream water quality, while simultaneously supporting agriculture. Farmers can be rewarded for the adoption of certain ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMPs) in farming systems. But little is known about the adoption of BMPs in the context of Thai agriculture. This thesis examines the adoption of twelve BMPs on citrus farms in the Ping river basin in northern Thailand. In the context of potential PES development, three studies were undertaken using frameworks from economics and psychology. The first study used a bottom-up engineering approach to estimate economic costs of twelve BMPs at the farm-scale. The total annualised costs, including installation, maintenance, and land opportunity costs of each BMP were compared. The results indicated that land opportunity cost was the largest proportion of total costs. These estimates provided a basis for discussion on how the farmers’ perception of cost may influence their stated adoption intention. The second study used the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), to investigate farmers’ intentions on adoption of twelve BMPs. A survey of 218 citrus farmers was undertaken in the application. Descriptive statistics and frequency of BMP selection were presented. The results showed that soil analysis was the most preferred BMP. A graphical analysis of other preferred measures suggested that these were not always consistent with the known cost information derived (above) and thus farmers’ perceived costs might not be the most important factor influencing adoption decisions. Further analysis based on TPB investigated other factors thought to be significant in farmers’ decision-making. Other potential external and psychological factors influencing adoption were investigated using a multinomial logistic model. The results indicated that the probability of adopting BMPs was associated with other psychological factors and external factors, rather than perceived costs. The significant psychological factors were farmers’ attitudes towards consumers and perception about farm returns, while the significant external factors were, for example, access to information and contribution of family labour to farm workload. The third study was based on the application of Q-Methodology, and aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of farmers’ perception towards BMPs. Seventy two participants were purposively selected from the 218 TPB observations. The results revealed four distinctive farmer groups holding different perceptions towards BMPs. The four groups were conservationist, traditionalist, disinterested, and risk-averse. These provided a specific segmentation to guide policy towards influencing attitudes and behaviours. The results suggested that farmers were not motivated solely by a profit maximisation goal. Overall, key findings from these three studies revealed some fundamental requirements for developing a water-related PES programme. These were: i) factors affecting eligibility to participate; ii) factors affecting desire to participate; and iii) factors affecting ability to participate. This information provided the basis for a set of recommendations addressing the development of the water-related PES programme in the Ping river basin.