Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services through Reformed European Agricultural Policies
In this article published in Conservation Letters, members of the interdisciplinary Research Group on Ecosystem Services examine the possibilities and perspectives for a reorientation of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The authors find that the current reform proposals do not take into account the knowledge generated by ecosystem research. They argue that the CAP should be reformed such that it serves as an instrument to safeguard ecosystem services from agricultural land.
Agro-ecosystems are vital for supplying ecosystem goods and services to human society, but modern farming practices are often having inadvertent detrimental impacts on the environment. Agricultural policies are a major factor in influencing the transformation of the agricultural sectors; however, most of them have so far not been effective in enhancing ecosystem services beyond agricultural commodities.
The largest agricultural support system worldwide, the European Common Agricultural Policy, has now come to a critical point, as major decisions concerning its design after 2013 are taken. The debate on the reform process of this policy presents a unique opportunity to trigger a transition from commodity-based subsidy policies to policies based on the efficient provision of ecosystem services from agricultural land in Europe.
To create successful payment schemes for ecosystem services, the article formulates key recommendations that need to be addressed. If these were to be considered in formulating the future CAP, it might become a best practice example for redirecting farm policies elsewhere in the world towards sustainability.
The article has been published online in Conservation Letters.
- Research Group on Ecosystem Services
- Ecologic Institute project: Market-Based Instruments for Ecosystem Services
- Ecologic Institute project: Agriculture as provisioning ecosystem service
Keywords: Ecosystem services, agriculture, Common Agricultural Policy, reform
Citation: Plieninger, Tobias; Christian Schleyer; Harald Schaich et al. 2012: "Mainstreaming ecosystem services through reformed European agricultural policies". Conservation Letters.
Authors: Tobias Plieninger, Christian Schleyer, Harald Schaich, Mónica Hernández-Morcillo, Holger Gerdes, Bettina Ohnesorge, Claudia Bieling
Published in: Conservation Letters
Editors: Society for Conservation Biology (SCB)
Reference type: Journal Article