Effects of social networks on interventions to change conservation behavior

Emiel de Lange*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social networks are critical to the success of behavioural interventions in conservation as network processes such as information flows and social influence can enable behaviour change to spread beyond a targeted group. We investigated these mechanisms using social network data and longitudinal behavioural data from a conservation intervention in Cambodia, and Stochastic Actor-Oriented Models. The intervention initially targeted ∼11% of the village population, but knowledge of the intervention reached ∼40% of the population within six months. The likelihood of an individual having this knowledge nearly doubled with each additional knowledgeable household member. In the short term, there was also a modest, but widespread improvement in pro-conservation behavioural intention, but this did not persist into the long term. Estimates from network models suggest that the influences of social peers, rather than knowledge of the intervention, were driving changes in intention and contributed to the failure to change behavioural intention in the long term. Our results point to the importance of accounting for the interaction between networks and behaviour when designing conservation interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConservation biology
Early online date3 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Sep 2021


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