2007-2009: Assessment of
reduction in environmental burdens through targeted measures compared
with whole farm approaches in cropping and livestock systems (Ref.
project was funded by Defra with the aim of assessing how targeted
measures compare with whole farm approaches in reducing environmental
burdens and to devise and to develop an innovative environmental
management system that would be effective at achieving those desired
environmental outcomes. A comprehensive review and critique of the
whole farm and targeted systems currently available was undertaken to
identify the main scientific evidence base for the comparison work.
Part of this review evaluated the current assurance schemes in place in
the UK and Europe and fed into work being undertaken by Defra's
Sustainable Farming and Food Division. The causal mechanisms by which
different approaches can influence environmental outcomes were
identified taking both a 'top-down' (activities > effects >
impacts) and 'bottom-up' (outcomes > causes > activities)
approach to develop a database of linkages between activities, effects
and outcomes. This database is known is the Activity Effect Outcome
(AEO) database and can be viewed online.
Using this knowledge, the
various systems were reviewed and their likely effectiveness at
influencing environmental outcomes was assessed using a scoring and
ranking approach specifically for this purpose. This allowed the
relative/likely effectiveness of targeted versus whole farm approaches
to be evaluated. The information gained and the lessons learnt from
this approach have enabled the development of an innovative
environmental management system that encapsulates the attributes that
are most likely to be effective in bringing about positive
environmental outcomes. An underlying philosophy of this system was to
not duplicate what is already in existence and to integrate with
existing systems, hence it focuses on what schemes and initiatives are
farm is already member of in order to ascertain some of the practices
that are being undertaken on the farm. The prototype system is known as
OASys (Outcomes from Agricultural Systems) and is available online - click
here to visit OASys. The project has
provided a valuable insight
into the strengths and weaknesses of whole farm approaches compared to
targeted measures. This helped inform Defra policy and public debate
about sustainable farming.
J., Lewis, K.A., Green, A. & Warner, D.J. (2011). A Novel Technique
for Identifying Environmental Outcomes from Agricultural Practices. Impact
Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(1): 2-10. DOI.
- Lewis, K.A., Green, A.,
Tzilivakis, J. & Warner, D.J. (2010). The contribution of UK
farm assurance schemes to environmental policy: Research Update Brief.
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK. [Download].
- Lewis, K.A., Green, A.,
Tzilivakis, J. &
Warner, D.J. (2010). The contribution of UK farm assurance schemes
towards desirable environmental policy outcomes. International
Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 8(4): 237–249. DOI.
- Tzilivakis, J., Lewis,
K.A., Green, A. & Warner, D.J. (2009). Assessment
of Reduction in Environmental Burdens Through Targeted Measures
Compared with Whole Farm Approaches in Cropping and Livestock Systems:
Final Report for Defra Project IF0131. Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
- Lewis K.A., Tzilivakis J,
Green, A., Warner,
D.J. & Coles A.J. (2008) Farm Assurance Schemes – Can they improve
farming standards? British Food Journal 110(11):,