Agri-environmental policies for biodiversity when the spatial pattern of the reserve matters
The aim of this paper is to compare different environmental policies for cost-effective habitat conservation on agricultural lands, when the desired spatial pattern of reserves is a random mosaic. We use a spatially explicit mathematical programming model which studies the farmers' behavior as profit maximizers under technical and administrative constraints. Facing different policy measures, each farmer chooses the land-use on each field, which determines the landscape at the regional level. A spatial pattern index (Ripley L function) is then associated to the obtained landscape, indicating on the degree of dispersion of the reserve. We compare a subsidy per hectare of reserve with an auction scheme and an agglomeration malus. We find that the auction is superior to the uniform subsidy for cost-efficiency. The agglomeration malus does better than the auction for the spatial pattern but is more costly.
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