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Enhancing the effectiveness of CAP greening as a conservation tool: a plea for regional targeting considering landscape constraints

AuthorsDíaz Esteban, Mario ; Concepción, Elena D.
Effectiveness constraints
Common agricultural policy
Agri-environment schemes
Decision-making guidelines
Land-use intensity
Landscape complexity
Issue DateDec-2016
CitationCurrent Landscape Ecology Reports 1(4): 168-177 (2016)
AbstractThe EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has tried to counteract negative impacts of intensive agriculture on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services mostly by means of voluntary agri-environment schemes (AES). More recently, direct payments to farmers have been linked to the application of greening measures derived from previous AES experiences. AES and greening measures (CAP greening hereafter) have become the main farmland conservation tools in Europe due to large budgets and extensive application. Effectiveness of greening measures (i.e. differences in biodiversity or ecosystem service measurements that can be attributed to the application of such measures) has not yet been evaluated thoroughly, whereas evaluations of AES effectiveness—although still not systematically incorporated into policy design—have lead to the conclusion that AES generally increase farmland biodiversity at the field scale with effect sizes that depend on the surrounding landscape. On the basis of knowledge gaps derived from available AES evaluations, we develop a five-stage hierarchical decision-making proposal to improve the effectiveness of CAP greening. Effectiveness is difficult to predict because non-linear relationships between diversity and land-use intensity at both field and landscape scales constrain and modulate it. Besides, relationships vary regionally and among target species, species groups and ecosystem services. Hence, regional targeting, landscape-scale thinking, and learning processes linked to systematic evaluations are key elements in any decision-making procedure aimed at improving this effectiveness. Ideas and guidelines developed here will help to develop regionally adapted measures aimed at overcoming constraints to CAP greening effectiveness and improving farmland conservation policies.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1007/s40823-016-0017-6
Identifiersissn: 2364-494X
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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