A-31/12 Result-oriented agrienvironmental schemes in Europe and their potential for promoting behavioural change

Increasing interest is being shown in result-oriented agri-environmental schemes. Such schemes have the advantage of encouraging farmers to innovate to produce environmental goods – thus promoting the development of new skills and knowledge and, theoretically, ensuring that farmers are paid for provision rather than for performing management behaviours that may, or may not, lead to provision. In Europe a number of projects have trialled result-based payments over the last decade and calls for a stronger connection between agri-environmental payments and outcomes are growing. However, while the amount of information available on result-oriented schemes is increasing, there is currently no overview of the approach in the literature. This paper seeks to address this gap through a review of existing literature. It discusses why we might consider the use of result-oriented schemes, outlines two key ‘problem areas’ (the increased risk schemes represent to farmers, and the difficulties of developing and monitoring indicators), and, finally, proposes a framework for examining the strength of results orientation based on three dimensions – proportion of result-oriented payments, sensitivity of payments, and duration of schemes/payments. Although economic and ecological arguments are outlined, our focus in the analysis is on how the result-oriented approach is likely to institute cultural/social change, and how to optimise schemes to ensure cultural embeddedness. Land Use Policy, https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.05.002

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