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What does framing theory add to our understanding of collective decision making in nitrogen management?

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Context Excess use of nitrogen fertilizer in agricultural landscapes is a threat to aquatic ecosystems, with effects manifesting at the scale of watersheds encompassing many farms. Collaborative processes involving farmers may be needed to achieve policies and decisions that are legitimate and sustainable in the long-term. Doing so depends on how arguments, positions and opinions are negotiated among farmers. We tested how framing theory may contribute to understanding such negotiations. Objectives The study has two objectives: (1) to evaluate the outcome of a series of experiments using framing methodology for analyzing collective decision making processes in agricultural landscapes, and (2) to discuss the potentials of using framing theory in agricultural landscape and nitrogen planning. Methods Collaborative scenario workshops with local stakeholders were organized in six case areas in Denmark. In each of the cases a participatory process was facilitated. The purpose of these meetings was to involve farmers in finding solutions to reduce nitrogen loads to aquatic recipients. Results Ten different frames were identified. These explain a majority of the variation among opinions. Analysis show that frames were understood homogeneously by the informants, indicating that frames represent established models of thinking about the agro-environment. We provide a brief outline of the frames identified. Conclusions We conclude that framing theory holds the potential to clarify key discussion about formation of opinions and standpoints in discourse and debates about land use and nitrogen management. It is discussed how to further progress along this line of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLandscape Ecology
Number of pages17
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Diffuse water pollution from agriculture, Collaborative planning, Targeted regulation, Agricultural landscapes, Differentiated regulation, Framing theory, Nitrogen governance, PUBLIC-PARTICIPATION, DENMARK, IMPLEMENTATION, AGRICULTURE, RESISTANCE, KNOWLEDGE, POLLUTION

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