Publications (FIS)

Viewpoints on Cooperative Peatland Management

Expectations and Motives of Dutch Farmers

authored by
Johanna Norris, Bettina Matzdorf, Rena Barghusen, Christoph Schulze, Bart van Gorcum

The European Union (EU) is globally the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases from drained peatlands. On the national level, 15% of agricultural peat soils in the Netherlands are responsible for 34% of agricultural emissions. Crucial to any successful policy is a better understanding of the behavioral change it will bring about among the target groups. Thus, we aim to explore farmers’ differing viewpoints to discuss how policy and planning can be improved to ensure landscape-scale climate mitigation on agriculturally used peatlands. Q methodology was used to interview fifteen farmers on Dutch peat soils, whereby 37 statements were ranked in a grid according to their level of agreement. Factor analysis revealed three main viewpoints: farmers with a higher peat proportion show an urgency in continuing to use their land (‘cooperative businesspeople’), while ‘independent opportunists’ are wary of cooperation compromising their sense of autonomy. Farmers who are ‘conditional land stewards’ are open to agriculture without drainage but require appropriate payments to do so. Future policy design must focus on providing support to farmers that go beyond compensation payments by providing information about funding sources as well as potential business models for peatland uses with raised water tables.

Institute of Environmental Planning
External Organisation(s)
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Regionalwert Leistungen GmbH
Van Gorcum–Research & Innovation
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Global and Planetary Change, Ecology, Nature and Landscape Conservation
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)