Effect of decoupling and agri-environmental policy on biodiversity in the uplands in UK

Recent decades have witnessed substantial losses in biodiversity in Europe, principally driven by the ecological changes associated with intensification of agricultural production. These changes especially affected the biodiversity in the marginal areas, such as the uplands in UK, since the habitat change was greater than in lowland zones. Livestock farming is the main land use in these areas, and economic viability of these farmers substantially relies on income coming from agricultural subsidies and different agri-environmental payments. The production decisions are influenced by these incentives and those have a subsequent effect on biodiversity. In order to address the problem of economic viability of farmers together with its impact on biodiversity conservation, we developed ecological-economic models for four typical farm types in the Peak District National Park in UK. We analyse the effect of policies on upland avian densities, focusing on decoupling and agri-environment schemes. The results show that the impact of these policies individually, which sometimes opposite, differs from their aggregated effect. It also shows that the effect differs across farm types. This means that from a biodiversity point of view whatever future policy options are chosen will result in winners and losers.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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