Designing Behaviour Change Interventions for Invasive Animal Control: A Practical Guide

Changing behaviour using effective interventions

Scientists, both within Australia and throughout the world, have developed an impressive set of technologies and recommended best practices for managing invasive animals. But these proposed solutions will fail unless the public – land managers, industry employees and community members – are sufficiently empowered and motivated to change behaviours and adopt new approaches. Changing behaviour, and sustaining these changes over time, is a difficult process. Educating the public about the adverse impacts of invasive animals, and providing information about control strategies, is rarely enough.

Behaviour change interventions require a more sophisticated approach informed by behavioural sciences. Social psychology and behavioural economics have generated an array of intervention strategies and behaviour change techniques designed to increase audience understanding, engagement and, ultimately, adoption of desired behaviours.

In this guide, we summarise this information, and provide a systematic approach for developing new behaviour change strategies. This approach is based on four guiding principles:

  1. Focus on human behaviour.
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Match your interventions to the primary causes of behaviour.
  4. Apply science-based evaluation.

This guide is for practitioners who are developing and delivering intervention strategies related to invasive animals. But the general principles and concepts discussed also apply to natural resource management more broadly. Above all, the guide outlines a systematic approach for developing behaviour change interventions, so that policymakers, scientists and engagement specialists can better connect with their target audiences to improve participation rates and hence the effectiveness of management programs.

How to use this guide

Each section of this document introduces a key principle for developing an effective behaviour change intervention, along with examples of how to apply that principle to invasive animals. Importantly, we have not provided detailed step-by-step instructions about how to apply each principle. This was a conscious decision. Developing, implementing, and evaluating a behaviour change strategy requires much more than following a simple recipe.

Each context is unique and needs to be systematically evaluated to determine which tools are most likely to effective in that particular circumstance. And very importantly, communication and consultation with the target community is essential to achieving effective outcomes. This should be a fundamental part of the whole process. First understand the context and target audience – then choose your tools carefully.

Secondary title A Practical Guide
Author Donald W. Hine
Secondary Author Lynette J. McLeod, Aaron B. Driver
Year 2019
Publisher Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
Institution University of New England Armidale, NSW
Documents Designing Behaviour Change Interventions for Invasive Animal Control: A Practical Guide

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