Fostering the provision of public goods by agriculture on landscape scale – the advantages of result-based and collective solutions

Authors: Theresa Eichhorn*, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Lena Luise Schaller, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Jochen Kantelhardt, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
Topics: Environment, Qualitative Research, Europe
Keywords: result-based payments, collective contracts, public goods, agriculture
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 12
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


European agriculture is characterized by intensification negatively affecting the provision of public goods. Therefore, in Europe’s “Green Deal”, the improvement of public good provision is in the focus. Improvements are expected by applying innovative agri-environmental contracts, such as results-based payments and collective implementation. In our study, we apply a qualitative content analysis on 60 examples of existing, regional contractual solutions from 13 EU-countries. We assess individual contract design elements and analyse strengths and weaknesses, all impacting on the feasibility of implementation and thus the willingness of the agricultural enterprises to participate. Our analyses show, that in many cases different contract elements are combined. For example, result-oriented approaches are implemented at the landscape level in form of a collective cooperation between several farms. Collective implementation is particularly useful, if it addresses public goods which can hardly be improved by measures on individual fields or on the level of individual farms (e.g. water quality). We see that results-oriented contracts are well suited to address very specific, easily measurable environmental services. First results also show that the adaptation of contracts to regional problems and basic conditions, the so-called "regional targeting", strongly increases the interest and understanding of farmers. Involving the land managers in the elaboration of environmental targets and the development of measures leads to a higher compatibility with operational processes, thus creating win-win situations. Bottom-up approaches and the involvement of regional key players as coordinating units are particularly successful.

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