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Result-based payments as a tool to preserve the High Nature Value of complex silvo-pastoral systems: progress toward farm-based indicators

Teresa Pinto-Correia, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development & Departamento de Paisagem Ambiente e Ordenamento, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora.
Isabel Ferraz-de-Oliveira, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development & Departamento de Zootecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Maria Helena Guimarães, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Institute for Advanced Studies and Research, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Elvira Sales-Baptista, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development & Departamento de Zootecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Carla Pinto-Cruz, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development & Departamento de Zootecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Carlos Godinho, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Institute for Advanced Studies and Research, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Ricardo Vieira Santos, MED - Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Institute for Advanced Studies and Research, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-12973-270139

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Abstract

As shown by the Green Deal's ambition, the European Commission is progressively pushing for an environmental shift and climate action in Europe. For the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), this involves a stronger focus on greening policy objectives. For agri-environmental schemes, this entails changes toward performance-based payments, partially replacing traditional activity-based payments. The CAP foresees greater flexibility in national programs and tailor-made solutions centered on results (i.e. environmental outcomes), benefiting farmers who go beyond the minimum environmental performance required. The environmental outcomes of farm practices must be assessed so that changes can be monitored over time and linked to payment delivery. This requires stakeholders to collaborate with researchers to identify farm-based indicators that are easily applicable, to achieve environmental results that are dependent on farm practices, and to assess and monitor changes in outcomes over time. The analysis in this paper is based on a transdisciplinary process that began in 2017 in a Natura 2000 site and its surroundings in Southern Portugal, to identify result-based measures for the Montado silvo-pastoral system. Farmers' understanding of how to adapt their practices to reach better environmental results was combined with scientific knowledge of the relevant environmental outcomes and how these can be assessed with indicators. Ten field-based visual indicators were defined, which farmers applied in the field, and validated by technical staff. These indicators are related to several aspects of the silvo-pastoral system: soil quality, pasture diversity, tree renewal, tree health, singular landscape elements, and biodiversity. The approach used in this process was innovative. We describe each step and present its advantages and drawbacks for designing and implementing result-based payments. Ultimately, their implementation is expected to lead to higher sustainability in the Montado.

Key words

agri-environmental measures; result-based payments; result-based indicators; silvo-pastoral; transdisciplinarity; Montado

Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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