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Abstract

Grasslands are a crucial component of the agricultural landscape of most French regions. They contribute to human well-being through the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services such as ruminantfeeding. In this way, they have an impact upon the quality of animal production. Grasslands also support biodiversity conservation by promoting pollination, climate regulation, water quality regulation, landscape quality, etc. Despite these multiple benefits, grassland areas have been rapidly and constantly shrinking over the last 50 years in the face ofthe extension of forage corn considered a more profitable crop. Agri-environmental schemes (AES) have been identified to date as playing a pivotal role in the promotion of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices within the European Union. In this paper, through the application of the Choice Experiment (CE) method, we intend to analyze the factors that influence farmers’ preferences and motivations to join or not an AES involving grasslands restoration in Normandy. We estimate the relative weight of these factors, and we evaluate the willingness to accept changes related to each factor. In addition to the evaluation of the financial contribution, our objective lies in highlighting the role of the collective participation, the technical support and the area of the farm enrolled in the AES. Hence, our study contributes to a better understanding of factors that might alter famers’ behaviour towards new restoration practices. Potential policy implications that emerged from our data are briefly discussed.

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