PEGASUS is a European research project aiming to develop innovative approaches and new ways of thinking about the way farmland and forests are managed in order to stimulate a long-lasting improvement in the provision of public goods and ecosystem services from agricultural and forest land in the EU.
EU’s agricultural and forestry land provides a wide range of public goods and ecosystem services on which society depends, yet land use decisions and society often under-value these. PEGASUS will develop innovative and practical ways of making public goods and ecosystem services concepts accessible and operational: it will identify how, where and when cost-effective mechanisms and tools for policy, business and practice can most effectively be applied, increasing the sustainability of primary production in pursuit of the EU2020 vision of ’smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’.
Recognising that the appreciation of public goods and ecosystem services is context-dependent,
PEGASUS uses social-ecological systems as an analytical framework to explore systemic inter-dependencies among natural, social and economic processes. It will adopt participatory action research with public and private actors and stakeholders to better understand the range of policy and practical challenges in different case study contexts (localities, sectors, management systems, etc.). Throughout the project, we want to encourage a wide range of stakeholders – land managers, rural stakeholders and policy makers at local, regional, national and EU level – to get involved and share their ideas. An EU-level spatially explicit assessment of causalities between socio-political and institutional drivers, different land management systems and multiple delivery of public goods and ecosystem services will be complemented by fine-grained analysis within the case studies, and comparative meta-analysis will be applied to develop an operational framework for mapping, valorising and determining what public goods and ecosystem services provision is needed and feasible within particular territories and sectors. New data-sets, transferable methods and tools that are fit-for-purpose and sensitive to the plurality of decision-making contexts will be generated.
By improving recognition of the social and economic value of public goods and ecosystem services, PEGASUS will promote improved and innovative approaches to their provision by businesses and communities, and highlight specific policy improvements to secure their delivery also in the longer term. The project will provide specific advances in CAP, forestry and other relevant policies, underpinned by strong scientific evidence.
- Awareness of the importance and feasibility of integrating environmental and social, alongside economic considerations within land management decisions.
- Practical tools to enable farmers, foresters and others involved in managing rural land or along the supply chain to make decisions about how land can be managed sustainably in the long term.
- Policy recommendations on new options for policy design to support and guide regional, national and EU decisions relating to the sustainable use of agriculture and forest land in the EU into the future.
Partners of the project
14 organisations are cooperating to ensure that the PEGASUS project objectives will be achieved. These organisations are based in 10 different EU countries and represent, for example, academia, research institutes and nature conservation partnerships.
- Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) – coordinator
- University of Gloucestershire (United Kingdom)
- DLO Foundation (The Netherlands)
- Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS) (Germany)
- Public Research Agency on Agriculture and Agricultural Economics (CRA-INEA) (Italy)
- Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information (IAEI/UZEI) (Czech Republic)
- Joint Research Centre (JRC) (Ispra-Italy)
- National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) (France)
- Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas (BABF) (Austria)
- Evora University (Portugal)
- Ljubljana University (Slovenia)
- Centre for Ecological Engineering (CEET) (Estonia)
- BirdLife Europe (EU level)
- Euromontana (EU level)
- Mechanisms fostering environmental and social benefits from agriculture and forestry in the 34 PEGASUS case studies
- Mapping the role of agriculture and forest management in the delivery of environmental and social benefits
- The importance of social processes: unlocking synergies
- A step change in policy to deliver more environmental and social benefits