Stimulating the social and environmental benefits of agriculture and forestry: An EU-based comparative analysis | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
April 2018
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Stimulating an effective provision of public goods and ecosystem services from Europe’s farmland and forests is a critical challenge for policy-makers. In this paper we focus on three aspects of this challenge. Firstly, we explore the different drivers that influence the provision of public goods and ecosystem services by farming and forestry. Secondly, we identify the key motivational, institutional and socio-economic factors that can encourage the provision of these benefits. And thirdly, we examine the role of governance arrangements, of new forms of cooperation and of institutional change in enhancing the provision of public goods and ecosystem services. The paper is based on a comparative analysis of 34 sectoral, multi-sectoral and territorial real-life case studies spread across 10 EU countries which were carried out as part of the EU-funded PEGASUS project. The analysis pays attention to the functional inter- and intra-relationships between farming and/or forestry, and the quantity and quality of public goods and ecosystem services that these activities provide. This analysis allowed us to identify the key factors that enhance the provision of social and environmental benefits. These include involving a wide range of actors in initiatives and actions, the establishment of appropriate governance arrangements in multi-actor partnerships, the key roles of coordination, cooperation and trust, and the importance of finding common interests and creating synergies and win–win situations. In most of the case studies, we found a complex interaction between different drivers, actors, motivations and interests. In general, we found that the provision of public goods and ecosystem services from farmland and forests is stimulated by policy interventions, planning and regulations that encourage, and support, the engagement of the private sector, and of civil society, in joint actions.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Knickel, Karlheinz
Maréchal, Anne


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

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