CR prepress abstract  -  doi: 10.3354/cr01462

Information needs, barriers and incentives to adopting climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in northern agriculture

Hanna Mäkinen*, Karoliina Rimhanen, Janne Kaseva, Sari J. Himanen

*Email: hanna.makinen@luke.fi

ABSTRACT: Effective climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture requires farmers to gain sufficient information to plan and implement practical climate actions. Science-based knowledge that meets actors’ needs supports proactive action taking. The aim of this study was to characterize the views of farmers and other rural stakeholders regarding farmers’ climate change information needs, and to identify potential barriers to and necessary incentives for applying climate change mitigation and adaptation in practice. Data were collected by conducting an internet survey in Finland for which 340 responses from farmers, farm advisors and other rural stakeholders were received. Applying cluster analysis, five information need profiles were identified; ‘information highlighters’, ‘globally and nationally oriented’, ‘livestock oriented’, ‘plant production oriented’ and ‘no interest’. Half of the respondents believed that climate change would affect their activities in the near future. Among respondent groups farmers themselves perceived the information on climate change as most uninteresting. The complexity of the current climate change communication and potential economic costs associated with proactivity were found to hinder both mitigation and proactive adaptation actions. Based on our study, climate change communication needs to be practice-oriented and tailored to fit the needs of farmers representing different production lines and regional locations. Such information plus an integration of an assessment of the effects of proactive action taking on farm profitability is needed to encourage climate change mitigation and adaptation actions on Finnish farms.