Designs and characteristics of agri-environmental measures



Agri-environmental measures (AEM) are an agricultural policy instrument for enhancing of agricultural practices and activities that go beyond the basic environmental standards. Formulation of agri-environmental measures is a complex substantive, organisational and participatory process. Decision-makers are faced with the difficult task of selecting appropriate design of measures, while the available options and their (dis)advantages are in most part not readily available. The purpose of this paper is to outline a typology of possible AEM in terms of the basis for payments, coordination of actions and selection of beneficiaries. Furthermore, the paper provides an overview of the applicability and implementation of particular measures in practice, which is based on a literature review and an analysis of measures in the EU and EFTA Member States. In the European Union, AEM are among the essential instruments in the field of environmental protection and nature conservation. However, research shows that despite a substantial budgetary allocation, AEM have relatively small environmental impacts. Over the last two decades, various new designs of AEM have been tested in an attempt to improve their environmental effectiveness and efficiency. Predominantly management-based measures are thus becoming more result-oriented and more spatially targeted. Some European countries have also piloted the implementation of collective action by farmers and other stakeholders to achieve environmental and nature conservation objectives.


Agri-environmental measures; result-based payments; collective action; spatial targeting; environmental auctions; farmland biodiversity; environmental impacts of agriculture; Common agricultural policy


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