Farmers’ preferences and social capital towards agri-environmental schemes for protecting birds
The steady decline of birds living in steppes is a worrying situation that the European Commission is attempting to remediate through the application of agri-environmental schemes (AES). The aim of this study is to assess farmers’ preferences towards these AES, which call for a number of harvesting restrictions in order to protect birds. We conducted a face-to-face survey in farming communities in Aragon (Spain) and through the estimation of a Rank Ordered Logit model, we found that farmers have strong preferences in favor of these AES. They generally request relative small amounts of monetary compensations to comply with the contractual requirements established by the proposed AES. Our results also show the importance of social trust and expectation of compliance by other neighbors that encourage farmers to cooperate with AES. These and other results may be used to design more effective AES and remediate this important biodiversity problem.
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