Title
The ‘neighbourhood effect’ : a multidisciplinary assessment of the case for farmer co-ordination in agri-environmental programmes
Description
In this paper we present a multi-disciplinary analysis of the potential impacts of undertaking similar environmental actions on multiple farms in a small geographic area, using organic farming as a proxy for a co-ordinated approach. Recent papers have called for more co-ordinated efforts between farmers in terms of their environmental actions, but there has been limited applied research demonstrating the environmental benefits or the economic and social implications to farmers of this approach. Comparative analysis of biodiversity, soil and water, and farm profitability were undertaken in England on 32 matched farms in areas of low and high organic farming concentration; qualitative interviews were also conducted with 48 farmers living in two of the eight areas. Findings demonstrate higher overall levels of biodiversity on organic farms (particularly in “hotspot” areas) but this was not universal across the species groups investigated. Higher water infiltration rates were found in organic grasslands, which could prove to be a useful measure to combat flooding. In terms of the technical efficiency of producing these environmental gains, conventional and organic farms in hotspot areas demonstrated equivalent efficiency from a financial perspective. Socio-cultural research identified the different amounts of trust farmers have in their neighbours, based in part on their performance as ‘good farmers’. We discuss the neighbourhood effect with a multi-disciplinary approach and conclude that encouraging local farmer co-ordination can have clear environmental benefits without high economic cost, but must be undertaken with caution – specifically regarding the trade-offs between benefits, local geophysical and social characteristics, and assumptions made about inter-farmer trust.
URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.09.003
DOI
10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.09.003
Language
English
Author
Lee-Ann Sutherland
Co-author
William E. Kunin
Co-author
Steven M. Sait
Co-author
Unai Pascual
Co-author
Dan Rigby
Co-author
Ruben Sakrabani
Co-author
Ulrich Schmutz
Co-author
Doreen Gabriel
Co-author
Laura Hathaway-Jenkins
Co-author
Richard Godwin
Co-author
Tim G. Benton
Co-author
Sigrid Stagl
Volume number
29
Issue number
3
Is this item peer reviewed?
Yes
ISSN
0264-8377
Publisher
Pergamon, Elsevier
Date of publication
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Page reference
502-512
Place of publication
Oxford
Has non-academic co-authors?
Yes
Has international co-authors?
No
For non-academic audience?
No
Is this item a pre-print or post-print?
Post-print
Title of journal
Land use policy
Harvard
Sutherland, Lee-Ann et al (2012) The ‘neighbourhood effect’ : a multidisciplinary assessment of the case for farmer co-ordination in agri-environmental programmes. Land use policy. 29 (3), pp. 502-512 Oxford: Pergamon, Elsevier.
Vancouver
Sutherland Lee-Ann et al. The ‘neighbourhood effect’ : a multidisciplinary assessment of the case for farmer co-ordination in agri-environmental programmes. Land use policy 2012; 29 (3): 502-512.