Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Limited adoption of biomass energy crops: the role of farmers' socio-cultural identity in influencing practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Charles Raymond Warren, Robert Burton, Olivia Buchanan, Richard Birnie

School/Research organisations

Abstract

UK energy policy promotes biomass energy crops as potentially significant contributors to renewable energy targets, but few farmers have planted these crops. Amongst the many possible explanations for this disconnect between policy ambitions and delivery on the ground, the role of farmers’ socio-cultural identity has received little attention. This study focuses on the Lockerbie area in south-west Scotland, a potentially favourable location for perennial energy crops because (i) it is biophysically suitable for short rotation coppice (SRC) willow, and (ii) Britain’s first wood-fueled power station provides a significant local market. A survey in 2009 explored farmers’ perceptions of SRC willow, and the key reasons why they adopt or reject perennial energy crops. The results show that most farmers regard SRC willow as a financially risky, overly committing and inappropriate crop for their farms. Whilst financial factors are
influential, even large potential profits would be insufficient to persuade many farmers to adopt SRC. Non-financial factors related to identity, lifestyle, farming culture and the perceived priority of food production powerfully shape the overwhelmingly negative attitudes of farmers to SRC. These findings suggest that biomass energy policy, especially regarding woody crops like SRC willow, needs to be more precisely tailored to influential social factors such as socio-cultural identity and local producer culture.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume45
Issue numberC
Early online date12 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Biomass energy, Farmer identity, Energy policy

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Scotland’s volatile political and electoral geography

    Clayton, D. W. & Warren, C. R., 31 May 2018, In : Scottish Geographical Journal. 134, 1-2, p. 1-4 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  2. Alien and native Species

    Warren, C. R., 29 Mar 2018, The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. F., Kobayashi, A. & Marston, R. A. (eds.). 2nd ed. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 8 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  3. Trajectories of rewilding: a taxonomy of wildland management

    Deary, H. & Warren, C. R., 19 Feb 2018, In : Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. Latest Articles, 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Energy and civilisation - a history

    Warren, C., 31 Jan 2018, In : Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 23, 5, p. 597-598 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  5. Attributing responsibility for energy justice: a case study of the Hinkley Point Nuclear Complex

    Jenkins, K., McCauley, D. & Warren, C. R., Sep 2017, In : Energy Policy. 108, p. 836-843

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Farm diversification, entrepreneurship and technology adoption: analysis of upland farmers in Wales

    Morris, W., Henley, A. & Dowell, D., Jul 2017, In : Journal of Rural Studies. 53, p. 132-143 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Generating public and private benefits through understanding what drives different types of agritourism

    Flanigan, S., Blackstock, K. & Hunter, C. J., Oct 2015, In : Journal of Rural Studies. 41, p. 129-141

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 241882274