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Ecological Economics

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Ecosystem services, Herbicide resistance -- Management, Herbicide-resistant crops, Farmers -- Attitudes, Cooperation


Dramatic growth in herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds in the United States threatens farm profitability and may undercut environmentally beneficial farming practices. When HR weeds move across farm boundaries due to ecological processes or human action, a common pool resource challenge emerges, requiring farmer cooperation to manage such weeds effectively. We investigate the scope for cooperative management using responses to a national survey on HR weed issues to test a recursive model of three preconditions for collective action: (1) concern about HR weeds migrating from nearby lands; (2) communication with neighbors about HR weeds; and (3) belief that cooperation is necessary for effective resistance management. Results suggest that farmers who relied more on Extension educators regarding weed management, were more likely to satisfy each precondition. Further, concern about weeds resistant to multiple herbicides as well as concern about HR weed mobility positively influence concern about migration and views toward cooperation. Farmer time constraints and “technooptimism” (a belief that herbicide discoveries will solve resistance problems) detract from the perceived need for cooperative approaches. A different set of factors significantly affect each precondition, suggesting heterogeneity in the underlying casual mechanisms. The findings can help tailor collective action to different socio-ecological settings experiencing HR weed resistance issues.


© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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