Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Financial incentives to undertake specific management actions with the aim of increasing biodiversity on farmland may be provided by government or non-governmental organisations. For example, agri-environment schemes are government or inter-governmental schemes designed to compensate farmers financially for changing agricultural practices to be more favourable to biodiversity and the landscape. Agri-environment schemes include many different specific interventions relevant to conservation. Where a study describes a specific intervention, e.g. Create uncultivated margins around arable or pasture fields, it is summarized under that specific action. Here we include studies that describe the effectiveness of payments such as those included in agri-environment policies where specific actions are not clearly defined.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison in 2007–2010 in farmed temperate woodlands in New South Wales, Australia (Michael et al. 2014) found that agri-environment schemes did not increase reptile species richness or abundance after one–three or six–eight years of conservation management compared to areas managed purely for livestock production and areas of unmanaged woodland. Overall reptile species richness and abundance was similar in sites with one–three years of agri-environment scheme management (2–3 species/site, 11–19 individuals/site) and six–eight years of agri-environment scheme management (2–4, 13–23). Sites with agri-environment schemes were also similar compared to sites managed purely for livestock production (3–4, 12–20) and sites of unmanaged woodland (2–3, 18–29). See paper for details of individual species abundances. In 2007, one hundred and five >2 ha woodland sites (of four different vegetation types) on 53 farms were established, which had been managed in one of four ways: short-term agri-environment schemes (removing or reducing livestock grazing, revegetation and control of introduced plants and animals since 2007; 16 sites); long-term agri-environment schemes (managed for biodiversity outcomes since before 2003; 32 sites); managed purely for livestock production (grazed with higher stocking densities and occasional fertilizer application; 40 sites), or unmanaged woodland (woodlands established 150 years prior, vegetation not cleared and rarely grazed, 17 sites). During October 2008, August 2009 and August 2010, reptiles were monitored in each site using 30-minute active searches under artificial refuges (four 1.2 m railway sleepers, four roof tiles and 1 m2 pile of corrugated steel) along one 200 x 50 m transect/site.Study and other actions tested