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Title (Primary) The EU’s ecological focus areas – How experts explain farmers' choices in Germany
Author Zinngrebe, Y.; Pe'er, G.; Schueler, S.; Schmitt, J.; Schmidt, J.; Lakner, S.
Journal Land Use Policy
Year 2017
Department OEKON; UPOL; iDiv
Volume 65
Page From 93
Page To 108
Language englisch
Keywords Common agricultural policy; Greening; Biodiversity conservation; Farmer decisions; Administrative constraints; Policy integration
UFZ wide themes RU6
Abstract Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) have recently been introduced as key element in the greening of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. In 2015, farmers across the EU have implemented EFAs for the first time. Data for German federal states indicate a strong variance in EFA decisions with an overall dominance of catch crops, nitrogen fixing crops and fallow land – two of which bear limited benefits for biodiversity conservation. This article explores how experts explain EFA choices. We conducted 35 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with representatives from the Ministry for Agriculture, farm advisory services, and farmers’ associations in each federal state. Applying content analysis we clustered the factors mentioned as determinants for farmers’ EFA choices into the categories administrative considerations, economic considerations, local factors, ecosystem considerations and policy incentives. According to the interviewed experts, farmers have primarily registered measures that already existed on their farms. Administrative considerations dominate the identified determinants for farmers’ EFA decisions, and together with economic considerations appear to function as a negative incentive for EFA options that are beneficial for biodiversity, such as landscape elements and buffer strips. We conclude that conditions for EFA implementation were found to not effectively incentivise a higher share of biodiversity supporting characteristics in German agricultural landscapes. Based on a detailed discussion we extract recommendations on how to improve EFA implementation.
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Zinngrebe, Y., Pe'er, G., Schueler, S., Schmitt, J., Schmidt, J., Lakner, S. (2017):
The EU’s ecological focus areas – How experts explain farmers' choices in Germany
Land Use Pol. 65 , 93 - 108