MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Young, Robert

Geographical Areas

Upper Thames Watershed, Grand River Watershed, Southwestern Ontario


This paper examines the factors that may explain why some farmers choose to remove conservation lands, while others choose to restore them. It uses a survey that was administered to rural landowners in the Upper Thames River and Grand River watersheds in Southwestern Ontario to collect information on landowner characteristics and behaviours, as well as literature reviews to provide insights into the value of conservation lands and the changing economic conditions in the study area. Eight independent variables that may explain the conservation behaviour of farmers were assessed. The findings reveal a significant positive correlation between property size and the establishment of conservation lands; a significant positive correlation between length of farm ownership and net change in conservation land; and weak correlations for education level, age, total household income, farm income, debt load, and an index of a landowner’s conservation ethic.