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Focus rural land policies on ecosystem services, not agriculture

terça-feira, junho 25, 2019

Hodge, 2019. Nature
Land policies around the world tend to focus on support for agricultural output. We argue that this leads to ineffective public expenditure, environmental harm and missed opportunities for the use of rural resources. Applying thinking centred on ecosystems services to the governance of rural land would secure greater social value.

Rural land can provide a broad  range of outputs in addition to agricultural products1,2, but with few mechanisms in place to incentivise their delivery, these outputs remain underprovided and uncoordinated. Governments do intervene, but generally with separate policies and agencies for separate outputs and services. Efforts to meet various objectives in agriculture, water quality, flood management, wildlife conservation and forestry are often poorly coordinated. We argue for a new approach to rural land policy that will maximise the long-term social value of services that are derived from ecosystems. 

This treats agricultural and other marketed products as provisioning services, alongside other environmental outputs for which there are no markets, such as biodiversity, water management, landscape, public access and carbon storage. The policy directs land uses and management practices towards a balance of marketed and non-marketed outputs. We propose a general framework for the development of an ecosystem services policy (ESP) that offers an overarching and integrated approach to rural land policy.

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Page: Nature

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