Convened by: Hens Runhaar, Geert de Snoo, Josef Settele, Johannes Sauer
The consequences of the Anthropocene are very visible in the European agricultural landscape: ongoing intensification and scale enlargement but also land abandonment have had enormous consequences for species richness and diversity (e.g. Sanderson et al., 2013). Restoring ecological values in modern agricultural landscapes is not only challenging in terms of our understanding of agroecological systems, but also a demanding matter of governance. How to motivate or steer farmers to adopt agroecological principles, also in view of the predominant production-oriented agricultural regime (Duru et al., 2015)? Much research has been conducted on agri-environment schemes (AES), a specific form of public policy that promotes agroecological practices by farmers (e.g. Kleijn et al., 2006). Less is known about the effectiveness of other governance initiatives, including incentives from large companies in agri-food chains that reward farmers who contribute to biodiversity, collaborations between farmers and nature conservation NGOs or regional partnerships between farmers, municipalities and NGOs that aim to re-connect citizens with farmers and cities with surrounding agricultural landscapes (Moragues and Morgan, 2015; Runhaar et al., 2017). Moreover, whereas evaluations of AES usually focus on ecological impacts, less is known about the social mechanisms that explain these ecological impacts. In this symposium we aim to bring together empirical analyses of a variety of public policies and private governance initiatives in Europe, in order to deepen our understanding of their potential and limitations, and to explore the fundamental actors and factors that steer the modern agricultural landscape. As a starting point we briefly present a recent framework for characterising and evaluating governance arrangements (Runhaar et al., 2017) in order to synthesise findings from other presenters.
Duru, M., O. Therond and M. Fares (2015), Designing agroecological transitions; a review, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35 (4), pp. 1237-1257.
Kleijn, D., R.A. Baquero, Y. Clough, M. Díaz, J. de Esteban, F. Fernández, D. Gabriel, F. Herzog, A. Holzschuh, R. Jöhl, E. Knop, A. Kruess, E. Marshall, I. Steffan-Dewenter, T. Tscharntke, J. Verhulst, T.M. West and J.L. Yela (2006), Mixed biodiversity benefits of agri-environment schemes in five European countries, Ecology Letters, 9 (3), pp. 243-254.
Moragues, A. and Morgan, J.K., (2015), Reframing the foodscape: the emergent world of urban food policy, Environment and Planning A, 47, pp. 1558 – 1573.
Runhaar, H.A.C., Th.C.P. Melman, F.G. Boonstra, J.W. Erisman, L.G., Horlings, G.R. de Snoo, C.J.A.M. Termeer, M.J. Wassen, J. Westerink and B.J.M. Arts (2016), Promoting nature conservation by Dutch farmers: a governance perspective, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 15 (3), pp. 264-281.
Sanderson, F.J., M. Kucharz, M. Jobda and P.F. Donald (2013), Impacts of agricultural intensification and abandonment on fa