Unraveling spatial agglomeration patterns in agri-environmental schemes: Evidence from the improvement of steppe habitats in the Natura 2000 network in Catalonia (Spain)

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The European payment for ecosystem services in the agricultural sector, or agri-environmental schemes (AES), have shown limited success in stopping biodiversity loss due to the mismatches between the scale at which they are adopted and the scale of ecological processes. This study analyzes the spatial distribution of farmer participation in the “Improvement of the steppe habitats of the Natura 2000 Network” AES in Catalonia (Spain) to test and explain potential agglomeration patterns. Our findings evidence spatial agglomeration of AES enrollment both within the farm (with farmers enrolling their adjacent or nearby plots in the scheme) and among farms (with farmers that adopt AES being near each other). Plots under the Natura2000-AES are located within a maximum distance of 2.4 km from their nearest enrolled plots, which would provide sufficient habitat continuum to allow for birds’ mobility across landscapes. Our results also indicate that participation concentrates on larger, non-irrigated and/or fallow plots, farms that are managed by professionals, young farmers, and/or members of a farmer organization, and municipalities with lower socioeconomic indexes. These results contradict the assumption that there are no agglomeration patterns in the AES context and reveal the interest of further studying the socio-ecological factors that underlie spatial agglomeration patterns of AES and designing landscape-management strategies accordingly.

Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article107145
Nombre de pàgines12
RevistaLand Use Policy
Volum142
DOIs
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - de jul. 2024

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