Landowner responses to financial incentive schemes for recreational access to woodlands in South East England
CHURCH, ANDREW and RAVENSCROFT, NEIL (2008) Landowner responses to financial incentive schemes for recreational access to woodlands in South East England Land Use Policy, 25 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 0264-8377
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Informed by a growing international literature on the motivations of non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners towards particular management goals, this paper reports the findings of a study into the responses of private and public/non-profit woodland owners to financial incentive schemes related to recreational access in South East England a highly urbanised region with considerable demand for outdoor recreation. The findings indicate that finance is the most important incentive for achieving uptake in these schemes to promote access. However, the propensity of owners to take up any incentive is not driven primarily by financial goals. Rather, it is a function of their predisposition towards the goals of the recreational access incentive scheme and the extent to which these goals are congruent with their self-identity as (largely) custodians of their woodland. In the case of promoting public access to private woodlands the study shows for the first time in the English context that, while few private woodland owners are predisposed towards granting additional access, the ability to deploy access incentives to longer-term stewardship goals may be sufficient to bring them into the scheme. The paper makes the argument that, to be successful, access incentive schemes must find ways of making the access component a central feature of grant aid while also incentivising longer-term management operations.
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