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Possible solutions to the failure of agri-environmental measures. Could increasing collaboration and knowledge save biodiversity?

Weber, Julia LU (2017) MVEK02 20171
Studies in Environmental Science
Abstract
The common agricultural policy (CAP) has been stated as one of the most important policies within the European Union (EU), and is the fundament for agricultural development in the member states. However, the CAP has been stated to effect biodiversity in a negative way. To handle the decreasing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes within the EU, the CAP has been developed to include measures to maintain biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, two of them being the mandatory “Ecological Focus Areas” (EFA) and the voluntary Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES). In this study, I investigate the differences in farmers’ preferences towards these different measures, and how collaboration between farmers could be increased. The results are... (More)
The common agricultural policy (CAP) has been stated as one of the most important policies within the European Union (EU), and is the fundament for agricultural development in the member states. However, the CAP has been stated to effect biodiversity in a negative way. To handle the decreasing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes within the EU, the CAP has been developed to include measures to maintain biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, two of them being the mandatory “Ecological Focus Areas” (EFA) and the voluntary Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES). In this study, I investigate the differences in farmers’ preferences towards these different measures, and how collaboration between farmers could be increased. The results are obtained through a systematised literature review. One reason for farmers having a negative preference towards collaboration regarding environmental measures could be the risk of lost farmland productivity, which could have an even more negative effect if there is a high probability of farm-takeover. Collaboration between farmers regarding AES could be increased by actively offer information on why collaboration could increase farm productivity, as well as giving information on why this could lead to increased biodiversity. Even if economical determinants have a great impact on farmers’ preferences towards, other determinants such as administrative restrictions and farmers’ perceptions and knowledge play a crucial role when explaining farmers’ preferences towards both AES and EFA. Generally, farmers are most willing to take on environmental measures that are easily implemented and cheap to maintain. This means that when developing agri-environmental policies, policy makers must take a holistic approach to design a policy that motivates farmers to choose measures with high environmental impact. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Could collaboration between farmers save biodiversity?

The biodiversity in agricultural landscapes continues to decrease, even though the European Union has included both voluntary and mandatory greening measures to ensure both increased and maintained biodiversity through environmentally friendly farmland practices. How could this negative trend be changed? Scientists argue that collaboration between farmers regarding these greening measures could increase the probability of doing so.
The European Union provides many ways for its Member States to work together towards common goals. Being a member of the European Union provides a steady ground for economic development. One of the longest lasting political instruments within the... (More)
Could collaboration between farmers save biodiversity?

The biodiversity in agricultural landscapes continues to decrease, even though the European Union has included both voluntary and mandatory greening measures to ensure both increased and maintained biodiversity through environmentally friendly farmland practices. How could this negative trend be changed? Scientists argue that collaboration between farmers regarding these greening measures could increase the probability of doing so.
The European Union provides many ways for its Member States to work together towards common goals. Being a member of the European Union provides a steady ground for economic development. One of the longest lasting political instruments within the European Union is the Common Agricultural Policy, providing a common foundation for agricultural practices amongst the Member States. Since its implementation in 1962, it has until today developed to ensure productivity aspects, fair living standards for farmers and a stable market including both availability of supplies for farmers and reasonable prices for consumers. Since 1992, the policy has also included greening measures to ensure that biodiversity will be both increased and maintained in agricultural landscapes, and it has now developed into both mandatory and voluntary measures for farmers to join. However, it seems like these measures fail on their main task; to increase biodiversity. But scientists have shown that collaboration between farmers regarding these measures could give us hope back.

If farmers would collaborate regarding these greening measures, the probability of them to reach up to the ecological threshold needed for biodiversity to increase will get higher. It would get easier to create corridors for animals to use for moving around, spreading genetic variation and thus creating a more stable community. However, Member States have not yet taken a big step forward when it comes to offering the possibility for farmers to collaborate around greening measures. Additionally, farmers might not be willing to enter collaboration, since the environmental benefits might not compensate for the economic risks collaboration could lead to.

When farmers consider collaboration regarding greening measures, the probability of farm take-over, e.g. when it is certain that a daughter or son will take over the farm when the current farmer retires, strongly influences the decision. It seems like farmers don’t want to sign up for a collaboration if that means that he or she will leave this on to a successor. Additionally, a fear of having others interfering with their farmland management also has a negative effect on farmers’ willingness to collaborate. However, these fears of collaboration being a risky business for farmers might be caused by the greening measures not being designed for a collective participation. The greening measures today are designed from a top-down perspective, giving farmers the possibility to choose individually from a menu of already set measures. If the design of the greening measures would change, so that farmers together could design and join greening measures that would collectively give them both economic and environmental benefits, would farmers then be more willing to collaborate?

By Julia Weber, June 2nd, 2017 (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Weber, Julia LU
supervisor
organization
course
MVEK02 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Agri-environmental measures, agri-environmental schemes, ecological focus areas, farmers' preferences, collective participation
language
English
id
8910786
date added to LUP
2017-06-14 11:28:50
date last changed
2017-06-14 11:28:50
@misc{8910786,
  abstract     = {The common agricultural policy (CAP) has been stated as one of the most important policies within the European Union (EU), and is the fundament for agricultural development in the member states. However, the CAP has been stated to effect biodiversity in a negative way. To handle the decreasing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes within the EU, the CAP has been developed to include measures to maintain biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, two of them being the mandatory “Ecological Focus Areas” (EFA) and the voluntary Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES). In this study, I investigate the differences in farmers’ preferences towards these different measures, and how collaboration between farmers could be increased. The results are obtained through a systematised literature review. One reason for farmers having a negative preference towards collaboration regarding environmental measures could be the risk of lost farmland productivity, which could have an even more negative effect if there is a high probability of farm-takeover. Collaboration between farmers regarding AES could be increased by actively offer information on why collaboration could increase farm productivity, as well as giving information on why this could lead to increased biodiversity. Even if economical determinants have a great impact on farmers’ preferences towards, other determinants such as administrative restrictions and farmers’ perceptions and knowledge play a crucial role when explaining farmers’ preferences towards both AES and EFA. Generally, farmers are most willing to take on environmental measures that are easily implemented and cheap to maintain. This means that when developing agri-environmental policies, policy makers must take a holistic approach to design a policy that motivates farmers to choose measures with high environmental impact.},
  author       = {Weber, Julia},
  keyword      = {Agri-environmental measures,agri-environmental schemes,ecological focus areas,farmers' preferences,collective participation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Possible solutions to the failure of agri-environmental measures. Could increasing collaboration and knowledge save biodiversity?},
  year         = {2017},
}