Integrating strategies for wildlife management into agri-environment payment schemes : A decision support approach
The Entry Level Stewardship scheme gives farmers in England access to payments for managing their farms for the benefit of wildlife. Points are awarded for adopting a number of management practices from a list of options, and when a threshold value has been reached payments are calculated on an area basis. However, if biodiversity is to benefit as much as possible for a given expenditure of time and effort on the part of the farmer, and money on the part of the government, then careful selection of options is imperative. Farmers cannot be expected to have a detailed knowledge of the ecological requirements of different species; therefore, options are likely to be chosen that meet the scheme’s points requirements for the minimum of cost and effort. This paper describes one approach taken that addresses this problem.