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Preservation of Bio-Diversity, Heterogeneity of Farm Practices and Payments for Cultural Landscapes under Inhomogeneous Natural Conditions /доклад на 10 конгрессе ЕААЕ, Exploring Diversity in the European Agri-Food System, Zaragoza, Spain, 28-31 August 2002

Опубликовано на портале: 29-11-2003
The paper explores the question of diversity in agricultural practice as related to bio-diversity and landscape appearance. It starts with the observation that, in the past, diverse natural conditions have considerably impacted on adapted modes of agricultural production, more than today, and that previously performed farm practices were strongly affiliated with specific natural conditions. These practices positively contributed to a modified, diverse and man-made environment which is frequently considered a beautiful landscape. This has changed dramatically. Particularly, where the European countryside is regarded a natural heritage, today, the public seems to be worried about modern farm practices. After the adoption of modern techniques, farmers prefer to apply unified production technologies and tend to set-up uniform farm structures and product mixes as well as land cultivation practices based on purchased inputs. Farm operations equalise natural conditions and contribute to uniform land rents. However, a rising public concern for the preservation of bio-diversity is asking for change and new measures. Additional to regulations on farm practices governments seek to compensate farmers for nature preservation and production of bio-diversity. Presuming that high biodiversity is dependent on diversity in agricultural practice and landscape appearance due to preserved natural conditions, the paper develops a model that links payments to diversity in farm practice and natural conditions. The applied model is landscape-oriented and classifies farm behaviour according to agronomic conditions. A reference system for a unified technology is presented and implications for payments are discussed using a behavioural approach. This behavioural approach focuses on regional dynamics in natural condition as major determinants for bio-diversity and payments as determinants for farm practices. Payments are directed to re-establish diversity in farm practices, counteract current technology dominance, and assure a new exposure to nature, though only partly. Diversity becomes prevalent; notably according to an economic calculus of costs and benefits from taxpayers' point of view.