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Ecol Econ. 2015 Nov;119:24-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.07.025.

The role of network bridging organisations in compensation payments for agri-environmental services under the EU Common Agricultural Policy.

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Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium; National Research Foundation, F.R.S.-FNRS, Belgium.
Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium; Aix-Marseille Université, GREQAM, France.


Compensation payments to farmers for the provision of agri-environmental services are a well-established policy scheme under the EU Common Agricultural Policy. However, in spite of the success in most EU countries in the uptake of the programme by farmers, the impact of the scheme on the long term commitment of farmers to change their practices remains poorly documented. To explore this issue, this paper presents the results of structured field interviews and a quantitative survey in the Walloon Region of Belgium. The main finding of this study is that farmers who have periodic contacts with network bridging organisations that foster cooperation and social learning in the agri-environmental landscapes show a higher commitment to change. This effect is observed both for farmers with high and low concern for biodiversity depletion. Support for network bridging organisations is foreseen under the EU Leader programme and the EU regulation 1306/2013, which could open-up interesting opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of the current payment scheme for agri-environmental services.


Bridging organisations; EU Common Agricultural Policy; Environmental attitudes; Network governance; Payments for environmental services; Social learning

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