Supply of an ecosystem service—Farmers’ willingness to adopt riparian buffer zones in agricultural catchments
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CitationCathal Buckley, Stephen Hynes, Sarah Mechan. Supply of an ecosystem service—Farmers’ willingness to adopt riparian buffer zones in agricultural catchments. Environmental Science & Policy, 24, (December 2012), 101-109. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.07.022
AbstractIn the European Union, mitigation measures to abate diffuse pollution from agricultural land are implemented under the direction of the EU Nitrates and Water Framework Directives. As these measures are implemented in national policies, a review process will look at the efficacy of the measures with a view to recommending further measures as necessary and following scientific and stakeholder consultation. Riparian buffer zones, beyond those zones used as mandatory set back distances for fertiliser and organic manure spreading, have been used as filters in some countries to attenuate nutrient rich runoff and may be proposed as supplementary measures elsewhere. Notwithstanding the ongoing research on the physio-chemical efficiency of riparian buffer zones, this study examined the willingness of farmers to adopt such features on agricultural land. The sample size was 247 farmers in 12 catchments (approximately 4-12km2) in the Republic of Ireland. The survey was based on a proposal to install a 10 metre deep riparian buffer zone on a five year scheme and the analysis was based on principal components analysis, contingent valuation methodology and a Generalized Tobit Interval model. Results from this analysis indicated that famers’ willingness to supply a riparian buffer zone depended on a mix of economic, attitudinal and farm structural factors. A total of 53% of the sample indicated a negative preference for provision. Principle constraints to adoption include interference with production, nuisance effects and loss of production in small field systems. Of those willing to engage with supply, the mean willingness to accept based cost of provision for a 10 metre riparian buffer zone was estimated to be €1513 ha-1 per annum equivalent to €1.51 per linear metre of riparian area.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine