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Social Capital in Agroforestry Systems of Southern MinnesotaEPA Grant Number: FP916387
Title: Social Capital in Agroforestry Systems of Southern Minnesota
Investigators: Lehrer, Nadine
Institution: University of Minnesota
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $109,932
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Forestry , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
The objective of this research project is to examine the role of diverse stakeholders in establishing and implementing agroforestry policies in southern Minnesota and the Peruvian Amazon. Agroforestry promotes sustainable environmental and economic development but can be advanced only by policies acceptable to its stakeholders. Bringing together these different groups and perspectives to establish working relationships requires some degree of negotiation, trust, and social capital. This project will compare different stakeholder perceptions on agroforestry, family farming, and farm subsidy policies in Minnesota and Peru to identify factors that will enable groups to form coalitions and negotiate mutually acceptable agroforestry policies.
The research methods will consist primarily of semistructured interviews with agroforestry policy stakeholders in Minnesota and Peru. Farmers, landowners, environmental groups, agribusiness representatives, government, and academics will all be asked their goals for agroforestry policy, their perceptions of group interactions in policy formation, and their perceptions of small, large, family, and industrial farmers’ role in changing agricultural policies. The differences and similarities among group perceptions will highlight areas of contention and/or agreement that can serve as a focus for building mutually acceptable agroforestry policy solutions to promote both environmental and economic health.
Uncovering the differences and similarities between stakeholder perspectives in agroforestry will highlight key avenues for building social capital to create sustainable land use policies. Similarly, the cross-cultural comparison between stakeholder views in Minnesota and Peru will help elucidate a set of best practices that will improve participatory decision-making in natural resources management.