An integrated approach for ex-ante evaluation of public policies for sustainable agriculture at landscape level

C. Parra-López, J.C.J. Groot, C. Carmona-Torres, W.A.H. Rossing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


An integrated methodological framework for ex-ante evaluation and planning of public policies for sustainable agriculture at agro-landscape level is proposed. The components of the framework are to: (1) determine the private, i.e. farmers’, and public benefits associated to agro-landscapes, consisting of an agricultural land-use system, according to its performance for several market and non-market functions. Market forces determine the market benefits and preferences of society the non-market benefits; (2) explore and select potential sustainable agro-landscapes based on the private and public benefits associated with possible land-use alternatives; (3) define efficient public policy mechanisms for improving social net benefit of agro-landscapes. The framework is illustrated with a case study in a small dairy farming dominated agro-landscape in The Netherlands, with gross margin, landscape quality, nature value and environmental health as the analysed ecosystem functions. Alternative landscapes consisting of hedgerow configurations and grassland management practices were explored, yielding a set of alternatives representing the solution space in terms of change in private and public benefits. Policy mechanisms were defined to move from the current to a desired landscape based on changes in social net benefits. Moreover, the necessity of a modification in the current agri-environmental support was analysed for each landscape. The analysis considered all farmers in the agro-landscape jointly. The results for the case study showed potential prototypes of landscapes and their performance compared to the current landscape. Extension was the most efficient policy mechanism to promote the change to the socially optimum landscape alternative
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1030
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • dairy farming systems
  • land-use
  • multifunctional agriculture
  • resource-management
  • nature conservation
  • consequences
  • perspectives
  • biodiversity
  • netherlands
  • framework


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