There has been limited empirical research to investigate the way in which farmers respond to market-based instruments intended to encourage their participation in environmental management. This paper is based on a case study of an auction mechanism that is under trial to deliver market incentives to encourage farmers in a saline-affected landscape to contribute to regional biodiversity goals through on-ground works. The case study auction is the Auction for Landscape Recovery which is a pilot currently operating in the north eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia. It is a scheme that aims to create a flexible ‘market’ setting to encourage the participation of farmers to undertake on-farm projects to achieve the multiple benefits of biodiversity conservation, salinity control and water quality improvements. A substantial component of the pilot research is an investigation of the technical aspects of conserving biodiversity across a saline landscape, and how to select tenders to achieve an optimal allocation of the on-ground funding. This paper aims to complement this by investigating the socioeconomic factors that influence farmers’ responses to the market incentives delivered through the auction mechanism. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are presented in the paper to explore the socioeconomic factors that may explain farmers’ decisions regarding participation in the auction. The analysis is based on data from some preliminary farmer interviews.


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