Farming system modelling for agri-environmental policy design: The case of a spatially non-aggregated allocation of conservation measures
This paper addresses the issue of designing policies for habitat conservation on agricultural land. The case under study requires a non-aggregated spatial distribution of the fields to be enrolled in an agri-environmental programme. A spatially explicit mathematical programming farm-based model, which accounts for three spatial levels (field, farm and landscape), is coupled with a relevant spatial pattern index (the Ripley L-function) to analyse the design and implementation of an agri-environmental programme aimed to preserve the Tetrax tetrax in the Plaine de Niort, France. The model is run using a stylised map with heterogeneous soil types and both crop growing and mixed dairy farms. Results show that valuable insights into agri-environmental programme design are gained through a detailed representation of farming system management. The suitable, non-aggregated spatial pattern for T. tetrax conservation is more costly than less-suitable, more aggregated patterns, because it tends to require equal participation of all farms. The policy simulations reveal that the various spatial patterns can be obtained through relatively simple uniform contract structures. An effective contract structure entails a set of two degressive payments which encourages all farms to enrol at least a small share of their land in the program.
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