& Tool to Support Farmers in Taking Aware Decisions on
Ecological Focus Areas
has a central role to play in the delivery of a number of desirable
'ecosystem services' (also known as 'ecological goods and services'),
including those related to rural biodiversity. However, despite the
fact that that there has been significant emphasis placed on
biodiversity in agri-environmental policy over the years, it is
generally accepted that there is still some way to go if the industry
is to deliver what is expected of it in this regards. Most notably for
example, populations of farmland birds and mammals have declined across
the EU over recent decades.
hoped that the introduction of 'Ecological Focus Areas' on the farm
will aid in delivering tangible environmental improvements, but this is
to some extent dependent on the specific combination of EFA elements a
farmer selects, and its appropriateness to the local environment.
Consequently, JRC wished to develop a tool which would help farmers
select EFA elements that could deliver optimal environmental benefits.
The developed tool takes into account the farms site specific
characteristics and ensures that both the EFA solution overall, and the
specific EFA elements selected, are pragmatic in terms of management
contracted to develop this tool on the basis of the latest scientific
understanding of the relevant issues. The project ran for nine months
from January 2015 and resulted in a user friendly system that allows
farmers to consider complex environmental issues within their decision
making processes, without the need for in-depth scientific knowledge.