Factors influencing the acceptance of nature conservation measures--a qualitative study in Switzerland

J Environ Manage. 2007 Apr;83(1):66-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.01.010. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


Landscapes fulfil a multitude of ecological and social functions. Due to the fact that both traditional and everyday landscapes today face many different threats, regulatory measures have been undertaken in many countries to protect and further sustainable landscape development. They include legislation as well as economic incentives. In recent years, however, it has become clear that just to have a few laws and to spend money on subsidies is not enough. Factors other than legislation are also essential to further the sustainable development of landscapes. One of the basic factors affecting the success or failure of landscape conservation measures is public acceptance of these measures. Our project took this as its starting point. The objective was to determine which conditions and factors influence acceptance positively or negatively. To this end 22 Swiss who are directly affected by nature conservation measures, in particular by mire landscape and dry meadow conservation measures, were interviewed using qualitative interview techniques. It is shown that perception, communication, and possibilities to participate are the most decisive driving factors influencing the formation of a long-lasting acceptance. Furthermore, acceptance may be based mainly on economic criteria, on usefulness, on ecological or even aesthetic aspects. It can be shown that not all of these motivations lead to a long-lasting acceptance. Ecologically based acceptance seems the most promising because it is founded on general convictions. Economic incentives--though important--seem to generate only superficial acceptance and do not seem to be as important as is usually assumed.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Attitude*
  • Communication
  • Conservation of Natural Resources* / economics
  • Conservation of Natural Resources* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Conservation of Natural Resources* / methods
  • Humans
  • Nature*
  • Switzerland