Understanding factors that influence trade-offs between agricultural expansion and forest conservation is important in managing competing land-use objectives. This paper applies elements of the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to distinct farming business ownership models in Zambia to gain insights into factors that agricultural land managers take into account when considering land-use trade-off decisions which involve agricultural expansion into natural habitats.
Results showed that the market domain was weighted above other domains, followed by the financial domain. When environmental considerations were pitted against other factors such as markets and finance, agricultural land managers were likely to trade off environmental concerns. Furthermore, availability of input subsidies via the agricultural Food Input Support Programme (FISP) influenced the decision to expand, particularly for the small-scale ownership model. This suggests that agricultural policies and strategies aimed at promoting agricultural productivity may require accompanying measures to safeguard forest ecosystems from agricultural expansion.
Key differences in the factors influencing expansion decisions were evident among ownership models suggesting that ownership types do have an impact on factors considered. This highlights the need to advance tailored strategies that address differences in priorities and decision making emanating from variations in farming business ownership models.