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«Tuesday, 21 June Session 4 : 09h00-10h40 Evaluation of Agri-environmental Measures in the Czech Republic : Evolving concept Jaroslav PRAZAN, Head of ...»

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OECD Workshop

on the

Evaluation of Agri-environmental Policies

20-22 June 2011

The Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute,

Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany

Tuesday, 21 June

Session 4 : 09h00-10h40

Evaluation of Agri-environmental Measures in the Czech

Republic : Evolving concept

Jaroslav PRAZAN,

Head of Agro-environmental policy,

Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information, Prague

Evaluation of agri-environmental measure in the Czech Republic: evolving concept

Jaroslav Prazan, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information Monitoring and evaluation of all policies do not have tradition in the Czech Republic and therefore also experience is not rich. The first reason is it was prohibited for decades before 1990 and several mind sets remained for some time in administration. Therefore the demand for independent evaluation was not demanded by administration for a long time. The change came after EU accession because most of the policies should be periodically reported to European Commission. There are difficulties in the process of evaluation and these are different from one natural resource to another. There is a number of agri-environmental policies which deserve proper impact monitoring and evaluation and there is a great asymmetry in effort in this part of the policy cycle. Evaluation of measures under Nitrate Directive is carried out quite regularly and especially output indicators and pressure indicators are monitored rather well. This is not the case with other agri-environmental policies.

The most difficult is to evaluate agri-environmental schemes targeted at biodiversity and landscape. The history of monitoring is quite short. Biodiversity is compared in organic/integrated vineyards with conventional ones from 90s but not regularly. Regular monitoring of birds, plants and insects is carried out only for three years and the effort proved that the task is difficult and costly. The difficulties stem from the design of the monitoring because the schemes are rather diverse and therefore it is not easy to decide which of them to monitor under budgetary restrictions. Then it is difficult to find control plots with great ecological similarities and not touched at the same by other agri-environmental policy (there is rather high uptake of this policy). Another issue is the experience of those who carry out the monitoring, which is evolving and growing capacities of botanists distort the results. In general budgetary restrictions do not allow monitoring sufficient number of sites to get statistically robust data. On the other hand the monitoring methods and concept for evaluation employed is well based on ecological principles and sounds reliable and promising. Those biotopes with sufficient sample plots already give impression the measure is effective in supporting biodiversity. Therefore after the sufficient experience is gained and sufficient number well selected monitoring sites is selected, the system could give strong arguments on the effectiveness of the agri-environmental measure for biodiversity.

But there is still criticism of the monitoring system and issue concerning explanation of the impact in terms of policy effectiveness. Those who carry out the monitoring are not policy analysts and sometime have difficulties to judge the results of monitoring against the goals and targets of the policy in concern. The first issue is that policy makers tend to define policy goals and targets in vague way. When the goal is measurable, then it uses output indicators (e.g. area under particular management). There is hardly any impact indicator for final evaluation of the policy used in case of agri-environmental measure. The second issues is that sometime the goals are “to maintain” the habitats in valuable state or extensive management.

But evaluators sometime do not take the real goal into consideration and when not detect any improvements on the habitats they tend to judge the policy as not successful.

Separate issue is to answer the questions: why the measure failed and what to do to improve the policy. In order to answer these policies evaluation of the policy should be done with this purpose. The paper will also briefly present reasons for low effectiveness of agrienvironmental policy targeted at biodiversity in the case of the Czech Republic.

Evaluation of agri-environmental measure in the Czech Republic: evolving concept Jaroslav Prazan, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information Introduction There is not a long history of the evaluation of policies in general in the Czech Republic. The major driver to start evaluating the policies is requirement of European Commission to carry out regular evaluation and reporting on the measures under Rural Development Programme.

Low demand for evaluation from the government bodies is accompanied by low interest in investment in research in that topic and therefore there are not many studies except those regular evaluations (e.g. ex-ante, mid-term and ex-post evaluations). On the other hand despite the low number of studies carried out, these are good start and already produced valuable insight to the potential or actual impact of the schemes under agri-environmental measure.

The paper will examine the experience with difficulties in evaluation on selected topics targeted under agri-environmental measure. Examples will be scheme Conversion of arable land to grassland and several schemes under Grassland management scheme. For those two schemes the evaluation practice is described and successes and failures discussed.

Finally the lessons learned and proposals for further development of evaluation is summarised.

The structure of the agri-environmental measure - AEM (programming period 2007The architecture of the AEM reflects the priorities for this policy and these are: sustainable farming systems, grassland management and landscape management. This section introduces these priorities and briefly explains towards what natural resources the impact could be measured.

Sub-measure A: Environmentally friendly farming systems Organic farming is supported on arable land, grassland, permanent crops, and vegetable/ornamental plants.

Integrated farming: permanent crops (fruits and vine) and vegetable production are supported.

Support of farming systems has argument that these provide nearly all key public goods provided by farming (e.g. soil, water, and biodiversity protection). Therefore impact of this system could be monitored in relation to all natural resources.

Sub-measure B: Grassland maintenance Support of grassland maintenance has quite complex structure and represents both broad and targeted schemes.

The structure:

B.1 Meadows (basic management) B.2 Mesophilic and hygrophilic meadows (12 options of management) B.3 Mountain and xerophilous meadows (12 options of management) B.4 Permanently waterlogged and peatland meadows (four options of management) B.5 Bird habitats on grassland – waders’ nesting site B.6 Bird habitats on grassland – corncrake’s nesting site B.7 Pastures (basic management) B.8 Species rich pastures B.9 Dry steppe grasslands and heathlands (four options) The schemes B.1 and B.7 represent extensive management of grassland (preventing from intensification and abandonment). The rest of the schemes are quite targeted at specific habitats or groups of habitats/biotopes with accurate targeting (i.e. designated on maps) (Ministry of Agriculture 2008). Targeted schemes are implemented in protected areas and part of them also outside the protected areas.

Grassland management schemes are targeted mainly on biodiversity, i.e. habitats and rare plants protection and bird protection. Protection of insects was not so much reflected in prescriptions in management, but in tailored schemes there was option to leave uncut strips. It was revealed that current intensive technologies and land parcel structure are drivers of decline of insects on grassland. Therefore the concern in monitoring and evaluation was also insects, despite this group was not so strongly targeted.

Sub-measure C: Landscape management This group of schemes are targeted to arable land.

Scheme C1: Conversion of arable land to grassland The scheme is targeted to Less favoured areas (LFA) and outside LFA on sensitive soils (e.g.

on slopes, shallow soils, soils close to water bodies). The scheme has several options:

1. Conversion of arable land with conventional seed mixture

2. Conversion of arable land with regionally specific seed mixture

3. Conversion of arable land with conventional seed mixture close to waters

4. Conversion of arable land with regionally specific seed mixture close to waters.

This scheme is aimed at protection of soils, water and supports also biodiversity. All corresponding impacts could be monitored and evaluated.

Scheme C2: Growing of catch crops The scheme aims at soil erosion prevention and prevention of N loss to waters and erosion prevention, therefore both concerns could be taken into account when planning and undertaking the evaluation.

Scheme C3: Growing of fodder strips The scheme should provide fodder to wildlife (e.g. hares, grey partridge, and other farmland birds) during time of its lack.

The scheme could be evaluated with respect to impact to farmland birds populations.

What is monitored and evaluated?

When started planning the monitoring the effects and evaluation the first dilemma was limited budget and quite diverse measure. It means when considering monitoring each option with sufficient sample, the corresponding budget could be prohibitively high. Therefore there has been attempt to reduce the coverage of the schemes and not all potential impacts could be measured.

First is presented description of what kind of impact was evaluated in case of each scheme (see table 1). Then discussion of monitoring and evaluation is carried out only for schemes aimed at grassland management and conversion of arable land to grassland.

Table 1: Overview of measurement of impact according to AEM schemes

Schemes Impact measured on:

Environmentally friendly farming systems

A.1 Organic farming:

Arable land Grassland Plants/insects diversity, Vineyards/orchards Insects/soil biodiversity, Vegetables

A.2 Integrated farming:

Vineyards/orchards Insects/soil biodiversity, Vegetables

Grassland management:

B.1 Meadows Plants/insects/worms diversity, populations change B.2 Mesophilic and hygrophilic B.3 Mountain and xerophilous B.4 Permanently waterlogged and peatland Plants/insects/worms diversity, populations change B.5 Bird habitats on grassland – waders Presence of targeted birds on site B.6 Bird habitats on grassland – corncrake Presence of targeted birds on site B.7 Pastures B.8 Species rich pastures Plants/insects diversity, populations change B.9 Dry steppe grasslands and heathlands

Landscape management:

C.1 Conversion of arable land to grassland Soils saved from erosion, insects diversity C.2 Cover crops C.3 Fodder strips Presence of farmland birds Source: Ministry of Agriculture 2008, VIA Service 2010 Approach Previous section shows the coverage of the monitoring and evaluation of the selected schemes. The concept of monitoring and evaluation is described in this section and in case of few schemes the evaluation approach is discussed in more detail.

Organic farming and integrated farming:

Briefly the organic, integrated vineyards and orchards were monitored already several times (first monitoring carried out in early 90s). The concept behind was changes of populations and species while compared with selected sites in relatively close proximity which are not disturbed by farming and also with conventional plots. The main difficulties were in selection of right sites, as the uptake of organic and integrated vineyards is rather high. One large farmer was even open to change farming system on part of his vineyards to support monitoring.

Conversion of arable land to grassland:

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