Guidance & Tool to Support Farmers in Taking Aware Decisions on Ecological Focus Areas

Farming 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.

It is 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 and control.

AERU were 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.


Dr. John Tzilivakis


Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) Calculator

Final Project Report

Joint Research Centre (JRC)

University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire, 2017.