In addition to the review paper and book outlined below, there are several papers related to the ADOPT tool. Click on the ADOPT menu item for information about those. 

Review Paper

Pannell, D.J., Marshall, G.R., Barr, N., Curtis, A., Vanclay, F. and Wilkinson, R. (2006). Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(11): 1407-1424.


Research on adoption of rural innovations is reviewed and interpreted through a cross-disciplinary lens to provide practical guidance for research, extension and policy relating to conservation practices. Adoption of innovations by landholders is presented as a dynamic learning process. Adoption depends on a range of personal, social, cultural and economic factors, as well as on characteristics of the innovation itself. Adoption occurs when the landholder perceives that the innovation in question will enhance the achievement of their personal goals. A range of goals is identifiable among landholders, including economic, social and environmental goals. Innovations are more likely to be adopted when they have a high ‘relative advantage’ (perceived superiority to the idea or practice that it supersedes), and when they are readily trialable (easy to test and learn about prior to adoption). Non-adoption or low adoption of a number of conservation practices is readily explicable in terms of their failure to provide a relative advantage (particularly in economic terms), and/or a range of difficulties that landholders may have in trialing them.


The paper was written in response to the needs of the Cooperative Research Centre for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity, but subsequently proved to be of interest to many others.  The paper became the most downloaded paper for that journal.  The motivation for the first Symposium was to celebrate this achievement. The paper stayed at number 1 for more than three years, before the journal stopped displaying that list of most-downloaded papers.  In February 2012, this paper became the most cited paper ever published by this journal, out of 2348 published papers. At that time, it had 136 citations in other journal articles. Currently, it has 377 citations listed on Scopus.

If you or your organisation subscribes to Animal Production Science (the new name for the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture) you can access the paper at: Non-subscribers can buy a copy on-line for A$25 or email to ask for a PDF copy.


The team has prepared a book, titled Changing Land Management: Adoption of New Practices by Rural Landholders, which was published on 1 March 2011 by CSIRO Publishing.  It includes chapters by the core team from the Melbourne Symposium, and some additional specially commissioned chapters.  Editors for the book are David Pannell and Frank Vanclay.


There is a rich and extensive history of research into factors that encourage farmers to change their land management practices, or inhibit them from doing so. Yet this research is often under-utilised in practice. Changing Land Management provides key insights from past and cutting-edge research to support decision-makers as they attempt to influence or assist rural communities adapting to changed circumstances, such as new technologies, new environmental imperatives, new market opportunities or changed climate.

Understanding the process of practice change by rural landholders is crucial for policy makers, agricultural researchers, extension agents, natural resource management bodies, non-government organisations and agricultural consultants. For example, such understanding can assist with the design and implementation of environmental programs, with the prioritisation of agricultural research and with commercial ventures.

Common themes are the need for an appreciation of the diversity of land managers and their contexts, of the diversity of factors that influence land-management decisions, and of the challenges that face government programs that are intended to change land management.


 1.      Changing land management: multiple perspectives on a multifaceted issue

         David J. Pannell and Frank Vanclay

2.      Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders
         David J. Pannell, Graham R. Marshall, Neil Barr, Allan Curtis, Frank Vanclay and Roger Wilkinson

3.      The many meanings of adoption

         Roger Wilkinson

4.      Social principles for agricultural extension in facilitating the adoption of new practices

         Frank Vanclay

5.      Identifying potential adopters of an agricultural innovation

         Geoff Kaine, Vic Wright, Ray Cooksey and Denise Bewsell

6.      Identifying and targeting adoption drivers

         Rick S. Llewellyn

7.      Enabling change in family farm businesses

         Amabel Fulton and Frank Vanclay

8.      What ‘community’ means for farmer adoption of conservation practices

         Graham R. Marshall

9.      I hope you are feeling uncomfortable now: role conflict and the natural resources extension officer

         Neil Barr

10.    Counting women into agriculture

         Cathy McGowan

11.    Bridging the gap between policy and management of natural resources

         Allan Curtis and Emily Mendham

12.    Policy perspectives on changing land management

         David J. Pannell


Agriculture professionals

Students and academics in the agricultural extension, agricultural science, natural resource management, rural and environmental sociology, and social and human geography areas.

People working as:

  • Agricultural extension agents
  • Educators and trainers
  • Agricultural researchers and research managers
  • Policy advisors and managers in government
  • Private sector agronomists advising farmers
  • Non-government organisations and social researchers


The book may be ordered from:

Ph: 1300 788 000
CSIRO website

Recommended retail price is $79.95. 

To place an order on-line click here.

Links to other papers

David Pannell's papers on adoption of agricultural innovations here.