Our results suggest that farmers’ perceptions on biodiversity is strongly embedded in their everyday lives and linked to farming practices. Besides recognising the importance of species and habitat diversity, farmers also acknowledge wider landscape processes and attach value to the complexity of ecological systems. Organic farmers tended to have a more complex and philosophical approach to biodiversity and they were relatively homogeneous in this aspect, while conventional farmers showed larger heterogeneity. Ethical and social values were important for all farmers. Economic value was more dominant in the conventional focus groups.
Important consequences can be drawn from these observations. Neither the context nor the participants of a valuation exercise are homogeneous, which needs to be considered before choosing the valuation method. The valuation method should be able to reflect the large heterogeneity of biodiversity values. Farmers’ strong acknowledgement of social and ethical biodiversity values suggests that soft policy tools could also foster pro-biodiversity farming, complementary to mainstream monetary incentives.
- discourse-based deliberative valuation
- focus group
- organic farming
- conventional farming