How Do Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES’s) Contribute to High Nature Value (HNV) Farmland: A Case Study in Emilia Romagna
The main objective of the paper is to inquiry if the Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES’s) included in the Rural Development Plan in Emilia Romagna have played a role in enhancing the Nature Value of regional farmland. High Nature Value (HNV) farmland is a concept that aims to identify the agricultural systems which are hospitable to animal and vegetal species, leading to a level of biodiversity which is particularly high. As a preliminary step, we measured the level and distribution of the HNV in Emilia Romagna at the municipality level, as derived by elaborations on the data of the two last censuses, year 2000 and 2010. Then the relationship between HNV and participation to rural development measures is analyzed in both directions of causality with econometric techniques. First we investigated the relationship between the participation to measure 214 (AES’s) of the Rural Development Plan and the HNV in order to explore if the participation is affected by the HNV. Rather than integrated farming or the protection of less favoured areas, ordinary least square models suggest a link between organic farming and HNV farmland: the results indicate that participation to the measure of organic farming in the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 is significantly dependent upon the HNV in year 2000. Secondly, as an effect of the participation to AES’s on the HNV we analyzed the change of HNV between 2000 and 2010 with ordinary least squares and spatial regression techniques. The regression models show that the variations depend upon the farmers’ participation to the organic farming measure and the presence of a mountainous territory. With regard to the other measures, integrated farming is not relevant and the participation to the measure for less favoured areas is related to the variation in a negative way.
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