Can regenerative agriculture support successful adaptation to climate change and improved landscape health through building farmer self-efficacy and wellbeing?

Kimberly Brown, Jacki Schirmer, Penney Upton

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Abstract

The growing movement of ‘regenerative agriculture’ (RA) claims to provide a way to adapt to a changing climate by regenerating landscapes while meeting the social and economic needs of farmers and their communities. Current research suggests that through the application of socio-ecological (SES) principles, RA can build a farmer's sense of their ability to successfully manage land for a range of outcomes and adapt to changes, also known as farming self-efficacy. Further, it is argued that by increasing farming self-efficacy, farmers experience improved wellbeing. Up until now, the role of farming self-efficacy as a potential wellbeing pathway has only been examined in the qualitative literature. We address this gap through a two-part exploratory study of Australian graziers. Firstly, we undertake an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to identify a measure of RA principles. We then use this measure to examine whether farming self-efficacy mediates the effect engaging in RA has on three different measures of subjective wellbeing (hedonic wellbeing, eudaimonic wellbeing and evaluative wellbeing). Results of the EFA identified a two-factor structure of RA principles. These were labelled “holistic planning and monitoring” and “prioritising landscape regeneration”. Only the latter was strongly associated with farming selfefficacy and wellbeing. Mediation was tested through three separate SEM analyses. Findings showed that the positive relationship between “prioritising landscape regeneration” and all subjective wellbeing measures were significantly mediated by farming self-efficacy. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that regenerative agriculture may support long-term adaptation to climatic variability through building farming self-efficacy and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100170
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Research in Environmental Sustainability
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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