Applied behavior analysis as a development tool: Examples from agroforestry

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College of Business; College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Applied behavior analysis can be used by development practitioners to improve the design and implementation of development programs. Programs are most successful when the goals and consequences of change agents, strategists, and adopters align, as we demonstrate with real-world examples from international agroforestry projects. We focus on the role of change agents acting as intermediaries between change strategists, such as large development agencies, and development adopters, the rural farmers who implement agroforestry projects. We describe three aspects that are particularly important for agroforestry projects: (1) identifying the rules being used, (2) assessing the roles and reinforcement contingencies of both individuals and larger groups, and (3) being flexible and able to respond to rapid change.

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Journal of Sustainable Forestry