This paper reports on the findings of a project undertaken by the Wales Rural Observatory to investigate factors influencing farmers' willingness to participate in the delivery of ecosystem services through the current agri-environment framework and prospective future mechanisms. The analysis draws on 50 in-depth interviews with farmers across Wales, including case-study groups where ecosystem service delivery is being piloted. The results show increased levels of potential engagement with environmental schemes, due to the perceived financial benefits in an increasingly difficult economic climate. However, there are still significant barriers present with the communication of policy aims. In particular, a more considered negotiation of the compatibility between food provisioning and other ecosystem services is needed, as the majority of the farmers interviewed remain committed to food production and were unwilling to compromise these priorities even for short-term financial gain. This was explained through reference to their sense of identity and family priorities. They were also critical of the government's current approach to food and environmental policy. As a consequence, a more coherent sustainable land management strategy is recommended to maximize the synergies between different goods and services and reduce inconsistencies across the production chains surrounding farm businesses.
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning|
|Early online date||09 May 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
- Payments for ecosystem services
- farmers’ behaviour
- European Union common agricultural policy reform