Environmental evaluation of agri-environment schemes using participatory approaches: experiences of testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index
Mauchline, A. L., Mortimer, S. R., Park, J. R., Finn, J. A., Haysom, K., Westbury, D. B., Purvis, G., Louwagie, G., Northey, G., Primdahl, J., Vejre, H., Kristensen, L. S., Teilmann, K. V., Vesterager, J. P., Knickel, K., Kasperczyk, N., Balázs, K., Podmaniczky, L., Vlahos, G., Christopoulos, S., Kroger, L., Aakkula, J. and Yli-Viikari, A. (2012) Environmental evaluation of agri-environment schemes using participatory approaches: experiences of testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index. Land Use Policy, 29 (2). pp. 317-328. ISSN 0264-8377
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.07.002
The Agri-Environment Footprint Index (AFI) has been developed as a generic methodology to assess changes in the overall environmental impacts from agriculture at the farm level and to assist in the evaluation of European agri-environmental schemes (AES). The methodology is based on multicriteria analysis (MCA) and involves stakeholder participation to provide a locally customised evaluation based on weighted environmental indicators. The methodology was subjected to a feasibility assessment in a series of case studies across the EU. The AFI approach was able to measure significant differences in environmental status between farms that participated in an AES and nonparticipants. Wider environmental concerns, beyond the scheme objectives, were also considered in some case studies and the benefits for identification of unintentional (and often beneficial) impacts of AESs are presented. The participatory approach to AES valuation proved efficient in different environments and administrative contexts. The approach proved to be appropriate for environmental evaluation of complex agri-environment systems and can complement any evaluation conducted under the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. The applicability of the AFI in routine monitoring of AES impacts and in providing feedback to improve policy design is discussed.