THE CENTER FOR 
Behavioral & Experimental Agri-Environmental Research

At the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-environmental Research (CBEAR), we are conducting groundbreaking studies that tests behavioral insights to improve agri-environmental programs.  Unique in what we do, CBEAR remains the leading producer of behavioral research that applies to agricultural and environmental topics that benefit farmers and the environment.  By using insights from our experiments, we work with policymakers and private institutions to make conservation programs more accessible and sustainable for all communities.

Why Behavioral Economics?

Behavioral economics is a field of inquiry that uses principles of economics and psychology to understand how individuals make decisions.  Using insights from this perspective helps people make choices that are consistent with their own long-term interests.

At CBEAR, we use behavioral economics to help conservation practitioners, scientists and producers.  We identify the best ways to ensure program adoption and aim to better understand what leads to persistent conservation practices.

behavioral science.png

Behavioral Economics Focuses on the Real Challenges of Conservation.

We study what most cost effectively leads to adoption and the persistence of conservation practices.   We also test to determine whether simpler application processes can deliver higher levels of program participation and landowner satisfaction.  

Our approach involves working together in dialogue with landowners, policymakers, and the private sector to jointly define our research with agri-environmental program administrators. 

We start with examining the application process of conservation programs.  We also target groups of farmers with relatively low conservation practice adoption.  In particular, historically underserved producers (HUP) to find out what is getting in their way of accessing conservation programs.   

Our research relies primarily on federal grants and the financial support of NGOs.  However, with environmental challenges being largely the result of human behavior, more money is needed for behavioral research that supports pathways to adoption and sustainability.

Graphs

OUR RESEARCH FOCUSES ON THE DATA

By the Numbers

We follow the data that leads to where our research needs to focus.  Taken only once every five years, the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture is a survey-based count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The survey provides the most recent data regarding land use practices by the number of farms and the number of acres. 

50%

increase in the acreage of cover crops from 2012 to 2017

3%

increase in the number of U.S. cropland acres using conservation practices from 2012 to 2017

41%

of U.S. farmland involved conservation practices

OUR WORK LEADS TO BEHAVIORAL INSIGHTS

Behavioral Economics Addresses

the Data and What's Behind It

Conservation Planning2.png

OUR INSIGHTS BRIDGE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE

Research from World-Renowned Scientists

Read Our News and Publications 

In the News

Image.jpeg

Field to Market: Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture™ Named 2022 CBEAR Innovation Prize Winner 

The Center for Behavioral & Experimental Agri-Environmental Research congratulates Field to Market:  The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture™ as the winner of the 2022 Innovation Prize. 

Read More

David-Pannell-Oct-2019-HS-768x681.jpeg

Economist David Pannell Joins

Our Distinguished Fellows List

CBEAR welcomes esteemed environmental economist David Pannell as one of our newest fellows. 

Read More

Working on Laptop

Annual CBEAR Virtual Research Seminars Slated for Spring 2023

Stay tuned for an announcement about dates and presenters!

Read More

 Recent Publications

Making More Effective Use of Behavioural Science in Conservation Interventions.

2021 Biological Conservation
Balmford, A, Bradbury, R., Bauer, JM, Broad, S., Burgess, G., Burgman, M., Byerly, H., Clayton, S.,  Espelosin, D., Ferraro, PJ,  Fisher, B., Garnett, EE, Jones, JPG, Marteau, T., Otieno, M., Polasky, S., Ricketts, TH, Sandbrook, C., Trevelyan, R., van der Linden, S., Veríssimo, D., Nielsen, KS.

Read More

Using a Randomized Controlled Trial to Develop Strategies on Rented Farmlands

2021 Conservation Letters
Weigel, C%, S. Harden, Y Masuda, P Ranjan, C Wardropper, PJ Ferraro, L Prokopy, S Reddy.

Read More

Biodiversity Conservation as a Promising Frontier for Behavioural Science

2021 Nature Human Behaviour
Nielsen, K. S., Marteau, T., Bauer, JM, Bradbury, RB, Broad, S., Burgess, G., Burgman, M., Byerly, H., Clayton, S.,  Espelosin, D., Ferraro, PJ,  Fisher, B., Garnett, EE, Jones, JPG, Otieno, M., Polasky, S., Ricketts, TH, Trevelyan, R., van der Linden, S., Veríssimo, D., Balmford, A.

Read More