This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring how institutional structure, capital assets, and motivations influence landowner participation in conservation incentive programs: A mixed methods approach




Lupek, Megan

Type of Degree



Forestry and Wildlife Sciences


Conservation incentive programs have become a common means of promoting preservation and best use practices for private landowners. Both non-government organizations and government agencies offer these programs to encourage conservation practices by rewarding landowners with benefits such as tax deductions, sign-up bonuses, and cost-share agreements. Given the increasing use of this technique for private land conservation, it is important to examine both the organizations that administer these programs and the landowners that participate. This study uses a top-down, bottom-up approach to explore the missions, capabilities, and external factors influencing the way organizations are able to implement conservation incentive programs through semi-structured, qualitative interviews with program administrators. Interviews were also conducted with program participants to identify motivations and capabilities for enrollment. A theoretical framework was then designed based on the qualitative data and used to construct a landowner questionnaire to expand the population sample. It was found that both organizations and landowners are enabled/constrained by the amount and distribution of capital assets in their possession.