Date of Award
Master of Science
Geography and Environmental Resources
This research explores the relationship between the cognitive variables perceived risks, perceived barriers, perceived self-efficacy, and perceived hazard experience with farmer support for adaptation and the agreement between farmer perceptions with observed climate conditions of drought and excess precipitation. Climate conditions were evaluated using monthly Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) values from 1950 to 2014. The remaining variables were measured using a closed ended survey of corn and soybean farmers (N =276) in the Iowa-Cedar Watershed. The relationships were evaluated using Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation (), frequency distributions, and probability analysis. Perceived barriers were found to be a significant predictor of support for adaptation. Transformational adaptations were less supported by farmers than incremental adaptations. Farmers expressed more concern for finances than any other risks or barrier. The majority of farmers reported low to moderate risks to drought and precipitation with high efficacy to cope to future impacts. Lastly, climate conditions indicate that there were more frequent and extreme precipitation events than drought events and that farmer perceptions of climate are consistent with observed climate conditions. However, while climate change projections indicate increased weather extremes in the future, farmers perceive no change in risks. It is unclear whether or not farmers are actually equipped to handle future threats to their crops. Future research should address this problem by conducting a longitudinal study to observe farmers’ perception prior to and after experiencing extreme events.
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