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The trade-off between agriculture and biodiversity in marginal areas: Can crofting and bumblebee conservation be reconciled?


  • Osgathorpe, Lynne M.
  • Park, Kirsty
  • Goulson, Dave
  • Acs, Szvetlana
  • Hanley, Nick


Crofting is a low intensity agricultural system restricted to the Highlands and Islands of northern Scotland typified by small scale mixed livestock production and rotational cropping activities. As with other low intensity farming systems across Europe, crofting is changing in response to a range of socio-economic factors. This is having a negative impact on the populations of rare bumblebees that are associated with this agricultural system. In this paper we use an ecological-economic modelling approach to examine the likely impacts of introducing two different management options for conserving bumblebees on croft land-use and income. Two linear programming models were constructed to represent the predominant crofting systems found in the Outer Hebrides, and varying constraints on bumblebee abundance were imposed to examine the trade-off between conservation and agricultural incomes. The model outputs illustrate that in some instances it is likely that both agricultural profits and bumblebee densities can be enhanced. We conclude that policy-makers should take into consideration the type of farming system when designing cost-effective agri-environment policies for low intensity farming systems, and that improvements in bee conservation are not necessarily in conflict with maintaining farm income.

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  • Osgathorpe, Lynne M. & Park, Kirsty & Goulson, Dave & Acs, Szvetlana & Hanley, Nick, 2011. "The trade-off between agriculture and biodiversity in marginal areas: Can crofting and bumblebee conservation be reconciled?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1162-1169, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:6:p:1162-1169

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alejandro Caparrós & Emilio Cerdá & Paola Ovando & Pablo Campos, 2010. "Carbon Sequestration with Reforestations and Biodiversity-scenic Values," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(1), pages 49-72, January.
    2. Isaza, Carlos Adri N Saldarriaga & Bofill, Walter G Mez & Cabrera, Hugo Salgado, 2007. "Cost-effective species conservation: an application to Huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus) in Chile," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 535-551, August.
    3. Evy Mettepenningen & Ann Verspecht & Guido Van Huylenbroeck, 2009. "Measuring private transaction costs of European agri-environmental schemes," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(5), pages 649-667.
    4. Meyer-Aurich, Andreas, 2005. "Economic and environmental analysis of sustainable farming practices - a Bavarian case study," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 190-206, November.
    5. Isabel Vanslembrouck & Guido Huylenbroeck & Wim Verbeke, 2002. "Determinants of the Willingness of Belgian Farmers to Participate in Agri-environmental Measures," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 489-511.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wätzold, Frank & Drechsler, Martin, 2014. "Agglomeration payment, agglomeration bonus or homogeneous payment?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 85-101.
    2. Miettinen, Antti & Korpela, Eeva-Liisa & Hyytiäinen, Kari & Kuussaari, Mikko, 2014. "Cost-effectiveness of agri-environmental measures when aiming at promoting ecosystem service availability, species diversity or species of conservation concern," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182686, European Association of Agricultural Economists.


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