• Soil quality is in decline in many parts of the world, in part due to the
    intensification of agricultural practices. Whilst economic instruments and
    regulations can help incentivise uptake of more sustainable soil
    management practices, they rarely motivate long-term behavior change
    when used alone. We are now beginning to pay attention to the complex
    social factors that affect uptake of sustainable soil management practices.
    To understand why some communities try these practices whilst others do
    not, we undertook a narrative review to understand how social capital
    influences adoption. We found that the four components of social capital –
    trust, norms, connectedness and power – can all influence the decision of
    farmers to change their soil management. Specifically, information flows
    more effectively across trusted, diverse networks where social norms exist
    to encourage innovation. Uptake is more limited in homogenous, close-knit
    farming communities that do not have many links with non-farmers and
    where there is a strong social norm to adhere to the status quo. Power can
    enhance or inhibit uptake depending on how it is managed. Future
    research, policy and practice should consider whether a lack of effective
    social capital could hinder uptake of new practices and, if so, which aspects
    of social capital could be developed to increase adoption of sustainable soil
    management practices. Enabling diverse, collaborative groups (including
    farmers, advisers and government officials) to work constructively together
    could help build effective social capital, where they can co-define, -develop
    and -enact measures to sustainably manage soils.

  • Niki A. Rust, Sara Iversen, Mark S. Reed, Rosmarie K. Neumann School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, UK, Newcastle, UK

    Emilia Noel Ptak, Morten Graversgaard, Chris Kjeldsen, Tommy Dalgaard Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University,, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark

    Jasper R. de Vries Strategic Communication Group, Wageningen University, Hollandsweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands

    Julie Ingram, Jane Mills Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), University of Gloucestershire, Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham, UK

    Melanie Muro Milieu Consulting, Chaussée de Charleroi 112, Brussels, 1060, Belgium



    Copyright: © 2020 Rust NA et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
    permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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