Providing Agri-environmental Public Goods through Collective Action

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
28 June 2013
Pages :
306
ISBN :
9789264197213 (PDF) ; 9789264197206 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264197213-en

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This study analyses the promotion of collective action for agri-environmental public goods and addresses externalities by reviewing the experience of various OECD member countries. Twenty-five cases from
13 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) are examined. The study shows that collective action should be given serious consideration as a means of addressing many agricultural and natural resource issues, and in some cases collective action should be actively promoted.

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  • Click to Access:  Foreword

    Providing Agri-environmental Public Goods through Collective Action reviews the experience of various OECD member countries in order to analyse how collective action can be effective in promoting the provision of agri-environmental public goods such as biodiversity and landscape. Twenty-five cases from 13 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) are examined. The study shows that collective action should be given serious consideration as a means of addressing many agricultural and natural resource issues, and in some cases collective action should be actively promoted

  • Click to Access:  Executive summary

    Agriculture is a provider of food, feed, fibre, fuel and fun (e.g. agri-tourism) and, to a certain extent, public goods like landscape and biodiversity. However, agriculture can also have negative impacts on natural assets such as biodiversity and water quality. With the growing awareness of environmental issues, including loss of biodiversity and climate change, the provision of public goods and the reduction of negative externalities stemming from agriculture have become important policy issues.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Collective provision of agri-environmental public goods

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    • Click to Access:  Understanding agri-environmental public goods through country experience

      This study analyses how collective action for agri-environmental public goods is promoted by examining a series of case studies in 13 OECD member countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

    • Click to Access:  Relationship between collective action and agri-environmental public goods

      This chapter examines several aspects in the relationship between collective action and agri-environmental public goods. What type of agri-environmental public goods can be provided by collective action? Who participates in collective action? How does collective action emerge and what are the benefits of and barriers to collective action? Finally, the key factors in reaching successful outcomes in collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Farmer behaviour and collective action

      This chapter focuses on social capital. When designing approaches to promote collective action, it is important to understand farmers’ individual behaviour and the dynamics of their group behaviour. These are reviewed through the prism of behavioural economics and with reference to the case studies featured in Part II. Social capital is a broad concept that embraces many attitudes and characteristics related to social interaction, such as social norms, social networks, institutional arrangements and mutual trust. It can lower the transaction costs of working together, facilitate harmonisation among groups, and enhance the predictability of reactions among group members.

    • Click to Access:  Promotion of collective action and policy implications

      This chapter examines government support for collective action involving diverse participants who are seeking to achieve various agri-environmental objectives. External help from public agencies or other interested bodies is important when barriers are high; nevertheless the benefits stemming from collective action outweigh the costs. This chapter first analyses collective action with and without government support. Secondly, collective action and policy measures are examined, followed by an analysis of the costeffectiveness of collective action measures. Lastly, the policy implications are set out.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Understanding collective action undertaken in OECD countries

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    • Click to Access:  Australia case study

      This chapter discusses two cases of Landcare in Australia: Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group Inc. and Holbrook Landcare Network. The first case study is a farmerbased environment group that has been actively addressing natural resource management issues in the catchments near the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The second case study addresses the main natural resource management issues (habitat loss, dryland salinity and soil erosion). Following a brief description of the case studies, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the roles of participants and the factors affecting outcomes in collective action are examined.

    • Click to Access:  Belgium case study

      This chapter discusses two case studies in the Flemish region of Belgium. The first study concerns the strategic installation of buffer strips in the Dommel Valley, a project initiated by a local organisation that is at the interface of agriculture and nature protection. The second study describes the co-operation between a water-providing company and farmers in the province of Antwerp. Following a brief description of the case studies, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action and the role of policies in stimulating collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Canada case study

      This chapter analyses two collective action cases in Canada: Group Environmental Farm Planning in Saskatchewan and the Beaver Hills Initiative in Alberta. In the first case, Saskatchewan producers act together to adopt Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) by accessing risk assessment programmes that approach environmental protection collectively. The second case was launched in reaction to strong development pressures that threatened landscape and other environmental values. It involves various participants, who pool their knowledge and develop science-based strategies to preserve the area. Following a brief description of the case studies, the roles of participants, the factors affecting the outcome of collective action, and the role of government are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Finland case study

      This chapter presents the Pyhäjärvi Restoration Project in Finland. Local actions aim to improve or maintain water quality in Lake Pyhäjärvi and are undertaken by local firms, communities and other beneficiaries of the lake’s water quality. Following a brief description of the case study, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the variables affecting outcomes in collective action and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  France case study

      This chapter presents the Vittel case. A group of farmers located in Vittel’s catchment area entered into a contractual arrangement to change their practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution from intensive farming. Following a brief description of the case study, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the factors leading to successful outcomes in collective action and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Germany case study

      This chapter presents three German case studies: Landcare associations, co-operation in drinking water protection, and wetland restoration in the Eider Valley. Landcare associations are regional non-profit associations where farmers, local administrations, politicians and nature conservation experts work together with the aim to implement nature conservation and landcare measures. Co-operation between farmers, water suppliers and technical advisers in Lower Saxony is helping to solve maintenance problems and restoring high water quality. The wetland restoration project aims to restore wetlands in the Eider Valley by extensifying agricultural land use and deconstructing drainage systems, based on co-operative institutional organisations. Following a brief description of the case studies, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the roles of participants, the factors affecting collective action and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Italy case study

      This chapter presents three Italian case studies: Custody of the territory in Tuscany, a community garden in Campania, and mountain pastures in Aosta Valley. The "Custody of the Territory" is a local project implemented by a local government agency which has an agreement with local farmers concerning environmental services to increase resilience to flooding, and to improve the landscape and hydro-geological management. The second case study focuses on a community garden in the Campania region, a collaborative green space converted from a degraded site into an eco-archaeological park. The third case study describes the collective management of mountain meadows and pastures in the Aosta Valley region, where regional support ensures the co-ordinated action of several stakeholders, maintains landscape and preserves biodiversity. Following a brief description of the case studies, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Japan case study

      This chapter presents three collective action policies in Japan. The first two case studies are based in Shiga Prefecture; one seeks to preserve biodiversity associated with agriculture and the second to recycle water drained from agriculture. The third case study examines measures to conserve and improve land, water and the environment. The first payments are made to farmers who agree to increase the water level of drainage canals so that fish can swim up to paddy fields. The second policy aims to recycle drainage water from agriculture by means of contracts with irrigation districts, each representing a large number of farmers, to re-use drained water. The third policy is the most extensive agri-environmental policy in Japan to preserve agricultural resources and the environment. It works by enlisting hamlet-based local action groups to manage drainage facilities. Following a brief description of the case studies, the agrienvironmental public goods provided by collective action and the factors affecting outcomes in collective action are discussed, and a comparative analysis is undertaken.

    • Click to Access:  The Netherlands case study

      This chapter presents the Water, Land and Dijken Association which is composed of farmers and civilians who develop tailor-made conservation practices for biodiversity (grassland birds) and landscape. Following a brief description of the case study, the agrienvironmental public goods provided by collective action, the roles of participants, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action and the government policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  New Zealand case study

      This chapter analyses three New Zealand case studies: Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) and North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC). SFF funds grass-root activities by farmers, growers and foresters. The Aorere Catchment Project is led by members of the local community, including dairy farmers. SFF provides funds and helps address the complexities of sustainable water management. ECFP aims to prevent and control erosion in the Gisborne region by providing funding to landholders and promoting collective action. NOIC is formed by farmers to establish, manage and operate an irrigation scheme for the North Otago area and to provide water for its members. Following a brief description of the case studies, the roles of participants, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action, and the cost-effectiveness of the actions are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Spain case study

      This chapter presents two Spanish case studies: community water management and good practices to avoid animal diseases. Communities of irrigators (CR) are established by owners of irrigated land who are collectively granted a water concession. They manage resources locally following their own water allocation rules. Animal Health Associations (ADGs) are created by local livestock breeders who implement a common animal health programme. Following a brief description of the case studies, the agri-environmental public goods provided by collective action, the roles of participants, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Sweden case study

      This chapter presents the Söne Mad Association. The Söne Mad pasture area has historically been collectively grazed by farmers and is now managed by an NGO established by landowners and farmers. The NGO receives environmental subsidies to restore and maintain fences. Following a brief description of the case study, the agrienvironmental public goods provided by collective action, the factors affecting outcomes in collective action, and the policy measures in support of collective action are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  United Kingdom case study

      This chapter examines the Upstream Thinking Project which aims to improve water quality through a collaborative approach that informs and assists landowners in the protection of river catchments as part of an integrated approach to good land management. Following a brief description of the case study, the challenges of water resources protection, the need for collective action to provide public goods, and the institutional concerns surrounding payments for ecosystem services (PES) are discussed.

    • Click to Access:  Annex A. Game theory and collective action

      This annex briefly provides several simple examples from game theory that relate to collective action. Sandler (1992) provides a more detailed theoretical exposition. The examples presented below show that although the socially optimal provision of public goods is difficult because of free-rider problems, their provision by collective action may be possible under some conditions. Communication and trust among members, repeated opportunities for co-operation and the size of the benefit from co-operating are factors that favour co-operation. In addition, sanctions and voluntary agreements among members can facilitate co-operation and ensure the provision of public goods associated with agriculture.

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