Evaluations of agri-environment support at the European level are still rare. We used an expert survey to examine agricultural support schemes in the EU, Norway and Switzerland in terms of the shares of the payments that compensate farmers and other recipients for the costs of providing services. Furthermore, we explored to which categories of ecosystem services the funding for agri-environment measures contributed according to the experts. For the agri-environment payments in the EU we found a mean estimate of ‘percent payment for services’ (PPS) of 72.3%. Expert age, type of organisation and disciplinary background systematically affected the individual estimates. Controlling the individual-level variation, the estimates differed significantly by measure objectives. Particularly high PPS estimates were found for organic farming and conservation related measures, while integrated production and more generic extensive management options were perceived to perform less well. The mean PPS estimate for the rural development programmes was 59.6% and that for single payments 16.8%. The results suggest that expert estimates of PPS may complement the evaluation of schemes at the national or regional level in cases where complex policy objectives prevent a comprehensive evaluation based on objective measures.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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