• Conserving Farmland Biodiversity – Lessons learned and future prospects

      O hUallachain, Daire; Finn, John A. (School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin in association with Teagasc, 2011)
      A conference Conserving Farmland Biodiversity: Lessons learned and future prospects was held in Wexford, Ireland on the 25th and 26th of May 2011. Through a combination of keynote presentations and theatre presentations, delegates were informed of latest developments in policy and research relevant to farmland biodiversity in Ireland. Four main broad categories dominated the content of the conference: agricultural policy, agri-environment schemes, High Nature Value farming systems, and a variety of case studies that assessed the success of specific conservation actions. As the European Union refocuses its commitment to halting biodiversity loss, reform of the post-2013 CAP is proceeding with an increased emphasis on environmental goals. This conference provided a timely discussion of these policies, and the conservation needs and actions for Irish habitats and species. Here we provide a summary of the main themes and issues presented at the conference.
    • Multiple factors control the environmental effectiveness of agri-environment schemes: implications for design and evaluation

      Finn, John A.; Kurz, Isabelle; Bourke, David; European Union; European Commission; SSPE-CT-2003-502070 (School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin in association with Teagasc, 2008)
      Achieving and evaluating the environmental effectiveness of agri-environment schemes (AESs) has proven difficult. The design and ex ante evaluation of AESs is a crucial phase for ensuring effectiveness, but seems to receive relatively little attention. We propose a programme theory (a structured description of the various cause-and-effect relationships that underpin and achieve a policy initiative) for AESs that considers multiple factors that drive environmental performance at farm-scale (appropriate farm-level objectives, farmer compliance, implementation by institutions, and cause-and-effect relationship between management prescriptions and environmental objectives), and factors that determine how farm-scale performance aggregates to produce scheme-scale performance (participation rate, targeting, and threshold effects). These factors can be used as assessment criteria with which to pinpoint specific causes of AES failure, and thereby offer a practical approach to complement the design and evaluation of the environmental effects of AESs.