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Mainstreaming ecosystem services through reformed European agricultural policies

  • Agroecosystems are vital for supplying ecosystem services to human society, but most modern farming practices impact detrimentally on the environment. Public agricultural support policies have been critically important in influencing the transformation of the farm sectors; however, few of them have been dedicated to enhancing ecosystem services beyond agricultural commodities. The largest agricultural support system worldwide, the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), has now come to a critical point, as major decisions concerning its design and implementation after 2013 are about to be taken. The debate on this reform process presents a unique opportunity to trigger a transition from commodity-based subsidy policies to policies centered on efficient provision of ecosystem services from agricultural land. To prompt such discussion, we formulate key recommendations informed by a review of ecosystem services literature and address verifiable links to human well-being, non-market valuation for balanced services provision, treatment of ecosystem services bundles, site-specific and regionalized approaches, matching spatial scales for different ecosystem services, funding permanence for payment schemes, strong monitoring and adaptive approaches to tackling uncertainties, and coherent cross-sectoral policy design. If these issues were to be considered in formulating and implementing future CAP, it might become an exemplar for redirecting agricultural policies elsewhere in the world towards sustainability.

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Author:Tobias Plieninger, Christian Schleyer, Harald Schaich, Bettina Ohnesorge, Holger Gerdes, Mónica Hernández-Morcillo, Claudia Bieling
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2013/08/29
Release Date:2013/08/29
Common Agricultural Policy; bundles; cross-sectoral policies; ecosystem services; human well-being; non-market valuation
GND Keyword:Agrarpolitik; Landnutzung
Institutes:BBAW / Drittmittelprojekt Ökosystemleistungen
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 71 Landschaftsgestaltung, Raumplanung / 710 Städtebau, Raumplanung, Landschaftsgestaltung