This article examined relationships among value orientations (mutualism, domination), property rights, responsibility, and farmers’ willingness to adopt Leopold’s land ethic. Data were obtained from a mailed survey sent to Illinois farmers (n = 974). Domination, mutualism, property rights, and responsibility were derived from previous research. The land ethic was measured using eight variables derived from direct quotes from Leopold. Structural equation models generally supported the hypothesized relationships. Mutualism, responsibility, and property rights predicted willingness to adopt the land ethic and accounted for 72% of the variance. Mutualism positively influenced responsibility and negatively influenced rights. Domination positively predicted rights, but did not influence responsibility. Value orientations explained 65% of the variance in responsibility and 17% in rights. Overall, findings suggested a connection between social psychologists’ approach to mutualism/domination and Leopold’s land ethic. Conservation efforts that tap into deeply held value orientations may result in lasting changes in farmer behavior.
- land ethic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science