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Discover the MERIT project on ecosystem services in mountain areas

This project focuses on the result-oriented agri-environment measures and their role in supporting biodiversity. The MERIT research can bring an important input to work to be done under the PEGASUS project.

Agri-environmental measures are the central area-based measures of the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy. Result-oriented financial incentives are linked directly to the desired environmental objectives and allow farmers to choose the most efficient way of management to reach them on their own. On the other side, traditional action-oriented agri-environment measures oblige farmers to follow specific management requirements in order to receive payments (e.g. restrictions on fertiliser use, mowing or grazing).

The MERIT project has undergone a pilot analysis to determine the feasibility and efficiency of the result oriented measures in five Alps regions from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Two Euromontana members participate in this project: EURAC and ISARA Lyon.

Seventy nine interviews were carried out with farmers in the case study regions. Results showed that 82% of interviewed farmers thought that result-oriented measures provided more flexibility in farm management than action-oriented measures, although 16 % disagreed with this. Many farmers also mentioned their need for more advice, training and exchanges with other farmers to improve their capacity to implement these result-oriented measures. The study determined that result oriented schemes have positive effects like the increase in livestock diversity, higher diversity of land use practices and decrease of land use intensity.

For more details, visit MERIT web page or participate at the project’s dissemination event that will take place in Vienna on 12-13 October 2015. During the event you can find out about the MERIT policy handbook. Based on the empirical results of the project, the handbook provides policy recommendations for the effective design and implementation of result-oriented biodiversity measures.

6 October 2015

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