Designs and characteristics of agri-environmental measures


  • Tanja ŠUMRADA University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Animal Science Slovenia
  • Emil ERJAVEC University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Animal Science Slovenia



Agri-environmental measures, result-based payments, collective action, spatial targeting, environmental auctions, farmland biodiversity, environmental impacts of agriculture, Common agricultural policy


Agri-environmental measures (AEM) are an agricultural policy instrument for enhancing of agricultural practices and activities that go beyond the basic environmental standards. Formulation of agri-environmental measures is a complex substantive, organisational and participatory process. Decision-makers are faced with the difficult task of selecting appropriate design of measures, while the available options and their (dis)advantages are in most part not readily available. The purpose of this paper is to outline a typology of possible AEM in terms of the basis for payments, coordination of actions and selection of beneficiaries. Furthermore, the paper provides an overview of the applicability and implementation of particular measures in practice, which is based on a literature review and an analysis of measures in the EU and EFTA Member States. In the European Union, AEM are among the essential instruments in the field of environmental protection and nature conservation. However, research shows that despite a substantial budgetary allocation, AEM have relatively small environmental impacts. Over the last two decades, various new designs of AEM have been tested in an attempt to improve their environmental effectiveness and efficiency. Predominantly management-based measures are thus becoming more result-oriented and more spatially targeted. Some European countries have also piloted the implementation of collective action by farmers and other stakeholders to achieve environmental and nature conservation objectives.


Armsworth, P. R., Acs, S., Dallimer, M., Gaston, K. J., Hanley, N., & Wilson, P. (2012). The cost of policy simplification in conservation incentive programs. Ecology Letters, 15(5), 406–414.

Batáry, P., Báldi, A., Kleijn, D., & Tscharntke, T. (2011). Landscape-moderated biodiversity effects of agri-environmental management: A meta-analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1713), 1894–1902.

Batáry, P., Dicks, L. V., Kleijn, D., & Sutherland, W. J. (2015). The role of agri-environment schemes in conservation and environmental management. Conservation Biology, 29(4), 1006–1016.

Birge, T., & Herzon, I. (2019). Exploring cultural acceptability of a hypothetical results-based agri-environment payment for grassland biodiversity. Journal of Rural Studies, 67, 1–11.

Birge, T., Toivonen, M., Kaljonen, M., & Herzon, I. (2017). Probing the grounds: Developing a payment-by-results agri-environment scheme in Finland. Land Use Policy, 61, 302–315.

Boulton, A., Lockett, R., & Seymour, T. (2013). A review and evaluation of collaborative landscape-scale management initiatives. Commissioned Report no. 598. Scottish Natural Heritage. Pridobljeno s

Buller, H., Wilson, G. A., & Höll, A. (Ur.). (2000). Agri-environmental Policy in the European Union. Ashgate Publishing.

Burton, R. J. F., & Schwarz, G. (2013). Result-oriented agri-environmental schemes in Europe and their potential for promoting behavioural change. Land Use Policy, 30(1), 628–641.

Chobotová, V. (2013). The role of market-based instruments for biodiversity conservation in Central and Eastern Europe. Ecological Economics, 95, 41–50.

Colombo, S., & Rocamora-Montiel, B. (2018). Result-oriented Agri-Environmental Climate Schemes as a means of promoting climate change mitigation in olive growing. Outlook on Agriculture, 47(2), 141–149.

ECA. (2011). Is agri-environment support well designed and managed?. Special report no. 7/2011. European Court of Auditors. Pridobljeno s

ECA. (2020). Biodiversity on farmland: CAP contribution has not halted the decline. Special report no. 13/2020. European Court of Auditors. Pridobljeno s

Egdell, J. (2000). Consultation on the countryside premium scheme: Creating a `market’ for information. Journal of Rural Studies, 16(3), 357–366.

ENRD. (2018). Background briefing: Collective approaches. Working Document of the Thematic Group (TG) on sustainable management of water and soils. European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). Pridobljeno s

ENRD. (2019). RDP analysis: Support to environment & climate change. M10.1 Agri-environment-climate commitments. European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). Pridobljeno s

Erjavec, E., Šumrada, T., Juvančič, L., Rac, I., Cunder, T., Bedrač, M., & Lovec, M. (2018). Vrednotenje slovenske kmetijske politike v obdobju 2015-2020: Raziskovalna podpora za strateško načrtovanje po letu 2020. Kmetijski inštitut Slovenije. Pridobljeno s

Evropska komisija. (2014). Technical elements of agri-environment-climate measure in the programming period 2014-2020.

Evropska komisija. (2018, januar 6). Natural resources and environment—Legal texts and factsheets. Pridobljeno s

FAO. (2011). Payments for Ecosystem Services and Food Security. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Pridobljeno s

Franks, J. R., & Emery, S. B. (2013). Incentivising collaborative conservation: Lessons from existing environmental Stewardship Scheme options. Land Use Policy, 30(1), 847–862.

Gamero, A., Brotons, L., Brunner, A., Foppen, R., Fornasari, L., Gregory, R. D., … Voříšek, P. (2017). Tracking Progress Toward EU Biodiversity Strategy Targets: EU Policy Effects in Preserving its Common Farmland Birds. Conservation Letters, 10(4), 395–402.

Gerowitt, B., Isselstein, J., & Marggraf, R. (2003). Rewards for ecological goods—Requirements and perspectives for agricultural land use. Biotic Indicators for Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture, 98(1), 541–547.

Gorton, M., Hubbard, C., & Hubbard, L. (2009). The Folly of European Union Policy Transfer: Why the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Does Not Fit Central and Eastern Europe. Regional Studies, 43(10), 1305–1317.

Grammatikopoulou, I., Iho, A., & Pouta, E. (2012). Willingness of farmers to participate in agri-environmental auctions in Finland. Food Economics, 9(4), 215–230.

Herzon, I., Birge, T., Allen, B., Povellato, A., Vanni, F., Hart, K., … Pražan, J. (2018). Time to look for evidence: Results-based approach to biodiversity conservation on farmland in Europe. Land Use Policy, 71, 347–354.

Iho, A., Lankoski, J., Ollikainen, M., Puustinen, M., & Lehtimäki, J. (2014). Agri-environmental auctions for phosphorus load reduction: Experiences from a Finnish pilot. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 58(2), 205–222.

Juvančič, L., Bojkovski, D., Pohar, J., Kuhar, A., & Vrisk, M. (2018). Določitev stroškovno učinkovitih javnih podpor za ohranjanje avtohtonih pasem domačih živali V4-1433. Končno poročilo o rezultatih opravljenega raziskovalnega dela na projektu v okviru ciljnega raziskovalnega programa (CRP) » hrano za jutri«. Univerza v Ljubljani, Biotehniška fakulteta. Pridobljeno s

Kaiser, T., Reutter, M., & Matzdorf, B. (2019). How to improve the conservation of species-rich grasslands with result-oriented payment schemes? Journal for Nature Conservation, 52, 125752.

Kaligarič, M., Čuš, J., Škornik, S., & Ivajnšič, D. (2019). The failure of agri-environment measures to promote and conserve grassland biodiversity in Slovenia. Land Use Policy, 80, 127–134.

Kleijn, D., & Sutherland, W. J. (2003). How effective are European agri-environment schemes in conserving and promoting biodiversity? Journal of Applied Ecology, 40(6), 947–969.

Krämer, J. E., & Wätzold, F. (2018). The agglomeration bonus in practice—An exploratory assessment of the Swiss network bonus. Journal for Nature Conservation, 43, 126–135.

Lastra-Bravo, X. B., Hubbard, C., Garrod, G., & Tolón-Becerra, A. (2015). What drives farmers’ participation in EU agri-environmental schemes?: Results from a qualitative meta-analysis. Environmental Science & Policy, 54, 1–9.

Latacz-Lohmann, U., & Schilizzi, S. (2005). Auctions for Conservation Contracts: A Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature (Project No: UKL/001/05). University of Kiel; University of Western Australia. Pridobljeno s

Leventon, J., Schaal, T., Velten, S., Dänhardt, J., Fischer, J., Abson, D. J., & Newig, J. (2017). Collaboration or fragmentation? Biodiversity management through the common agricultural policy. Land Use Policy, 64, 1–12.

Lundberg, L., Persson, U. M., Alpizar, F., & Lindgren, K. (2018). Context Matters: Exploring the Cost-effectiveness of Fixed Payments and Procurement Auctions for PES. Ecological Economics, 146, 347–358.

McCarthy, J., Bonnin, C., & Meredith, D. (2018). Disciplining the State: The role of alliances in contesting multi-level agri-environmental governance. Land Use Policy, 76, 317–328.

McKenzie, A. J., Emery, S. B., Franks, J. R., & Whittingham, M. J. (2013). Landscape-scale conservation: Collaborative agri-environment schemes could benefit both biodiversity and ecosystem services, but will farmers be willing to participate? Journal of Applied Ecology, 50(5), 1274–1280.

Meyer, C., Reutter, M., Matzdorf, B., Sattler, C., & Schomers, S. (2015). Design rules for successful governmental payments for ecosystem services: Taking agri-environmental measures in Germany as an example. Journal of Environmental Management, 157, 146–159.

Mills, J., Gibbon, D., Ingram, J., Reed, M., Short, C., & Dwyer, J. (2011). Organising Collective Action for Effective Environmental Management and Social Learning in Wales. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 17(1), 69–83.

Ministry of Economic Affairs. (2016). The cooperative approach under the new Dutch agri-environment-climate scheme: Background, procedures and legal and institutional implications. Ministry of Economic Affairs. Pridobljeno s

MKGP. (2017). Program razvoja podeželja RS za obdobje 2014-2020 (CCI 2014SI06RDNP001). Različica 5.1. Evropska komisija. Pridobljeno s

Newton, I. (2017). Farming and Birds. HarperCollins.

OECD. (2010). Guidelines for Cost-effective Agri-environmental Policy Measures. OECD.

OECD. (2013). Providing Agri-environmental Public Goods through Collective Action. OECD.

OECD. (2015). Public Goods and Externalities: Agri-environmental Policy Measures in Selected OECD Countries. OECD.

OECD. (2017). Evaluation of Agricultural Policy Reforms in the European Union: The Common Agricultural Policy 2014-20. OECD.

O’Rourke, E., & Finn, J. A. (Ur.). (2020). Farming for Nature: The role of results-based payments. Teagasc; National Parks and Wildlife Service. Pridobljeno s

Palm-Forster, L. H., Swinton, S. M., Lupi, F., & Shupp, R. S. (2016). Too Burdensome to Bid: Transaction Costs and Pay-for-Performance Conservation. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 98(5), 1314–1333.

Parkhurst, G. M., & Shogren, J. F. (2007). Spatial incentives to coordinate contiguous habitat. Special Section - Ecosystem Services and Agriculture, 64(2), 344–355.

Plieninger, T., Schleyer, C., Schaich, H., Ohnesorge, B., Gerdes, H., Hernández‐Morcillo, M., & Bieling, C. (2012). Mainstreaming ecosystem services through reformed European agricultural policies. Conservation Letters, 5(4), 281–288.

Poláková, J., Tucker, G., Hart, K., Dwyer, J., & Rayment, M. (2011). Addressing biodiversity and habitat preservation through Measures applied under the Common Agricultural Policy. Report Prepared for DG Agriculture and Rural Development, Contract No. 30-CE-0388497/00-44 (str. 357). Institute for European Environmental Policy. Pridobljeno s

Polman, N., Slangen, L., & Huylenbroeck, G. (2010). Collective approaches to agri-environmental management. V EU Policy for Agriculture, Food and Rural Areas (str. 363–368). Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Prager, K. (2015). Agri-environmental collaboratives for landscape management in Europe. Sustainability governance and transformation, 12, 59–66.

Rac, I., Juvančič, L., & Erjavec, E. (2020). Stimulating collective action to preserve High Nature Value farming in post-transitional settings. A comparative analysis of three Slovenian social-ecological systems. Nature Conservation, 39, 87–111.

Reed, M. S., Moxey, A., Prager, K., Hanley, N., Skates, J., Bonn, A., … Thomson, K. (2014). Improving the link between payments and the provision of ecosystem services in agri-environment schemes. Ecosystem Services, 9, 44–53.

Riley, M., Sangster, H., Smith, H., Chiverrell, R., & Boyle, J. (2018). Will farmers work together for conservation? The potential limits of farmers’ cooperation in agri-environment measures. Land Use Policy, 70, 635–646.

Rolfe, J., Whitten, S., & Windle, J. (2017). The Australian experience in using tenders for conservation. Land Use Policy, 63, 611–620.

Saba, A. (2017). Results-Based Agri-Environmental Schemes for Delivering Ecosystem Services in the EU: Established Issues and Emerging Trends. V M. Alabrese, M. Brunori, S. Rolandi, & A. Saba (Ur.), Agricultural Law (str. 83–122). Springer International Publishing.

Sabatier, R., Doyen, L., & Tichit, M. (2012). Action versus Result-Oriented Schemes in a Grassland Agroecosystem: A Dynamic Modelling Approach. PLoS ONE, 7(4), e33257.

Schilizzi, S. (2017). An overview of laboratory research on conservation auctions. Land Use Policy, 63, 572–583.

Schomers, S., Matzdorf, B., Meyer, C., & Sattler, C. (2015). How Local Intermediaries Improve the Effectiveness of Public Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: The Role of Networks and Agri-Environmental Assistance. Sustainability, 7(10), 13856–13886.

Sidemo-Holm, W., Smith, H. G., & Brady, M. V. (2018). Improving agricultural pollution abatement through result-based payment schemes. Land Use Policy, 77, 209–219.

Slabe-Erker, R., Bartolj, T., Ogorevc, M., Kavaš, D., & Koman, K. (2017). The impacts of agricultural payments on groundwater quality: Spatial analysis on the case of Slovenia. Ecological Indicators, 73, 338–344.

Slovenc, M. (2019). Can a “Good Farmer” and a “Bad Farmer” Cooperate?: An Examination of Conventional and Organic Farmers’ Perceptions of Production and Environmental Protection. V A. A. Lukšič & T. Tkalec (Ur.), Intertwining of diverse minds in(to) political ecology: Scientific texts of doctoral students participating in the Summer school of political ecology (str. 111–129). Inštitut Časopis za kritiko znanosti. Pridobljeno s'_Perceptions_of_Production_and_Environmental_Protection

Sutcliffe, L. M. E., Batáry, P., Kormann, U., Báldi, A., Dicks, L. V., Herzon, I., … Tscharntke, T. (2015). Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland. Diversity and Distributions, 21(6), 722–730.

Šumrada, T., Kmecl, P., & Erjavec, E. (2020a). Učinki kmetijske rabe in ukrepov javnih politik na pestrost ptic kmetijske krajine. V J. Prišenk (Ur.), Razvojni vidiki prenosa znanja v skupni kmetijski politiki po letu 2020 (str. 41–53). Društvo agrarnih ekonomistov Slovenije (DAES). Pridobljeno s

Šumrada, T., Lovec, M., Juvančič, L., Rac, I., & Erjavec, E. (2020b). Fit for the task? Integration of biodiversity policy into the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: Illustration on the case of Slovenia. Journal for Nature Conservation, 54, 125804.

Šumrada, T., Novak, A., Udovč, A., Rac, I., Šilc, U., Čelik, T., … Erjavec, E. (2020c). Potenciali novih zasnov in sodelovanje kmetov v kmetijsko-okoljskih ukrepih. Poročilo v okviru CRP V4-1814 Analitične podpore za večjo učinkovitost in ciljnost kmetijske politike do okolja in narave v Sloveniji. Univerza v Ljubljani, Biotehniška fakulteta.

Uthes, S., & Matzdorf, B. (2013). Studies on Agri-environmental Measures: A Survey of the Literature. Environmental Management, 51(1), 251–266.

Uthes, S., Matzdorf, B., Müller, K., & Kaechele, H. (2010). Spatial Targeting of Agri-Environmental Measures: Cost-Effectiveness and Distributional Consequences. Environmental Management, 46(3), 494–509.

Vainio, A., Tienhaara, A., Haltia, E., Hyvönen, T., Pyysiäinen, J., & Pouta, E. (2019). The legitimacy of result-oriented and action-oriented agri-environmental schemes: A comparison of farmers’ and citizens’ perceptions. Land Use Policy, 104358.

Vesterager, J. P., Frederiksen, P., Kristensen, S. B. P., Vadineanu, A., Gaube, V., Geamana, N. A., … Busck, A. G. (2016). Dynamics in national agri-environmental policy implementation under changing EU policy priorities: Does one size fit all? Land Use Policy, 57, 764–776.

Vojtech, V. (2010). Policy Measures Addressing Agri-environmental Issues (OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers no. 24). OECD.

Wätzold, F., & Drechsler, M. (2005). Spatially Uniform versus Spatially Heterogeneous Compensation Payments for Biodiversity-Enhancing Land-Use Measures. Environmental & Resource Economics, 31(1), 73–93.

Wätzold, F., & Drechsler, M. (2014). Agglomeration payment, agglomeration bonus or homogeneous payment? Resource and Energy Economics, 37, 85–101.

Westerink, J., Jongeneel, R., Polman, N., Prager, K., Franks, J. R., Dupraz, P., & Mettepenningen, E. (2017). Collaborative governance arrangements to deliver spatially coordinated agri-environmental management. Land Use Policy, 69, 176–192.

Wezel, A., Vincent, A., Nitsch, H., Schmid, O., Dubbert, M., Tasser, E., … Bogner, D. (2018). Farmers’ perceptions, preferences, and propositions for result-oriented measures in mountain farming. Land Use Policy, 70, 117–127.

Wezel, A., Zipfer, M., Aubry, C., Barataud, F., & Heißenhuber, A. (2016). Result-oriented approaches to the management of drinking water catchments in agricultural landscapes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59(2), 183–202.

Zavalloni, M., Raggi, M., & Viaggi, D. (2019). Agri-environmental Policies and Public Goods: An Assessmentof Coalition Incentives and Minimum Participation Rules. Environmental and Resource Economics, 72(4), 1023–1040.

Zilans, A., Schwarz, G., Veidemane, K., Osbeck, M., Tonderski, A., & Olsson, O. (2019). Enabling policy innovations promoting multiple ecosystem benefits: Lessons learnt from case studies in the Baltic Sea Region. Water Policy, 21(3), 546–564.

Žvikart, M., & Debeljak, N. (2019). Ovrednotenje stroškov priprave in izvajanja rezultatsko usmerjenega kmetijsko-okoljskega ukrepa za ohranjanje suhih travišč. Varstvo narave, 31, 47–60.


25. 09. 2020



Agronomy section

How to Cite

ŠUMRADA, T., & ERJAVEC, E. (2020). Designs and characteristics of agri-environmental measures. Acta Agriculturae Slovenica, 116(1), 157–178.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 905

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>