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Balancing the Push and Pull factors of Land-Use Change: A New Zealand Case-Study

January 2022

Publication: Regional Environmental Change
Author(s): A. Renwick, R. Dynes, P. Johnstone, W. King, L. Holt, J. Penelope

New Zealand is increasingly facing environmental and social challenges associated with its current land-use choices. There is therefore a drive to find ways to continue to add value to its primary sectors, which are of significant economic value to the country whilst at the same time mitigating the externalities associated with the use of land in primary production. Next-generation systems (NGS) are identified as potentially being able to address these challenges. Through the application of a multi-criteria decision making tool, this paper identifies the factors that are important to individual land managers in terms of choice of land-use and how these factors may act as barriers or facilitators of change. By examining land-use change as a combination of push and pull factors between alternative systems, this paper highlights the complex and context specific nature of decision-making at the individual land-manager level and the importance of risk perceptions. It argues that simply pushing land managers away from land-uses that have’undesirable’ characteristics through regulation is unlikely to lead to a sustainable transition without the existence of viable alternatives. There is a need to balance increasing the risk of current land-uses whilst at the same time reducing the risk of transitioning to next-generation systems.

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