A modelling approach for the assessment of the effects of Common Agricultural Policy measures on farmland biodiversity in the EU27

15-09-2013 | Publication

Greening of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) may help to achieve targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. A suite of models can ne used to calculate the impacts of policy measures within the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on farmland biodiversity, together with impacts on farm production, income and prices, with land use and land-use intensity as the connecting drivers between the models.

Combination of CAPRI and BIOSCORE

The suite of models (Figure 1) could be used to assess the effects of CAP scenarios in an integral way, both for economic factors and biodiversity, including off-site effects. This economic analysis was conducted using the Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact Modelling System (CAPRI) as the economic modelling tool. Data on land use and nitrogen application, calculated with the CAPRI model, were combined to form classes of land-use intensity. Data on species–pressure relationships from the European biodiversity impact assessment tool BIOSCORE were used to determine the impact of agricultural policies on biodiversity. These data included 132 farmland species in the EU, consisting of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and plants.

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Possibilities of combined modelling

This article shows examples of scenario analyses to illustrate the possibilities offered by the method. For this analyses, a baseline scenario for 2020 was developed as a reference. In an alternative policy scenario (Figure 2), farmers must designate five per cent of their land as ecological focus areas – agricultural land that is fallow, or contains landscape features, or consists of buffer strips and afforested areas. With the results of various scenario calculations, funds may be allocated in the most effective way and unwanted side effects may be identified at an early stage. However, for a detailed impact assessment on landscape, farm or field level, additional analyses would be required.

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