Improving agri-environment schemes infographic

Agri-environment schemes (AES) encourage farmers to manage their land in a way that benefits the environment. It is important that AES are effective, as wildlife habitats are increasingly under threat from intensive agricultural methods and development. The infographic highlights that schemes can be more beneficial for wildlife and the environment when they are collaborative, locally flexible, landscape-scale and results-orientated.

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improving agri-environment schemes infographic

Agri-environment schemes


AES provide financial support to farmers that adopt environmental management practices on their land. Participation is voluntary, with approximately a quarter of agricultural land across the European Union being part of a scheme. AES can include measures to conserve and enhance habitats for wildlife, which contributes to a healthier ecosystem. For example, wildlife could benefit from the creation of buffer strips to protect habitats and from green corridors to connect habitats together.



Improving benefits for wildlife and the environment


Research findings suggest that AES has had variable success in providing benefits for nature conservation. As illustrated in the infographic, AES can be more effective in enhancing wildlife habitats and protecting the environment in four main ways.


Schemes should be collaborative and involve farmers and other stakeholders, such as nature conservation groups, local communities, local authorities and government agencies. Bridging organisations can help to bring together these different groups and facilitate how interventions are developed and applied. This type of collaboration facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience between partners, and improves environmental management skills.


AES should be flexible to enable local aims to be identified. This allows schemes to take into account the local context and to support existing networks of partnership working. Locally targeted schemes are more relevant and more likely to get farmers’ support.


AES should also take into account the wider landscape scale: ecosystems operate on a scale which goes beyond the boundary of one single farm. Taking this broader view increases awareness of wider issues and supports the need to work with other farmers and stakeholders. Developing a scheme that improves the habitat network across a large area will improve the quality of the landscape.


Most current schemes are input-based, where payments are linked to actions rather than outcomes. A more results-orientated approach improves the link between projects and the benefits delivered. Farmers are rewarded for the benefits that they provide, which in turn improves the quality of the projects and is more cost efficient. Facilitation and monitoring activities should be factored into schemes so that the potential quality improvements and cost benefits can be achieved.



The Bauhaus design style


The infographic is designed in the Bauhaus style. Using an unexpected design style for a subject can help convey a message in a fresh and dynamic way.


2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus design school in Germany, where the style developed. The school applied the style to everything from architecture, to furniture, to posters.


In terms of graphic design, Bauhaus uses simple linear and geometric shapes to create clean and abstract forms. Decoration and curly lines are dispensed with, and objects and text are simplified. The style is noted for wrapping text around shapes, and using diagonals to angle elements, while maintaining a rational and legible layout.



Sources


Austin, Z., et al. (2015). Integrating quantitative and qualitative data in assessing the cost-effectiveness of biodiversity conservation programmes. Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 24, pp. 1359-1375.


Emery, S.B. & Franks, J.F. (2012). The potential for collaborative agri-environment schemes in England: Can a well-designed collaborative approach address farmers’ concerns with current schemes? Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 28, pp. 218–231.


McCracken, M.E., et al. (2015). Social and ecological drivers of success in agri-environment schemes: the roles of farmers and environmental context. Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 52(3), pp. 696–705.


Prager, K. (2015). Agri-environmental collaboratives as bridging organisations in landscape management. Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 161, pp. 375–384.


Reed, M., et al. (2014). Improving the link between payments and the provision of ecosystem services in agri-environment schemes. Ecosystem Services, Vol. 9, pp. 44–-53.


This infographic appeared in JONO Design e-news. The e-news is published once every couple of months and each issue contains a specially designed infographic.


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