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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Evaluating the Options for Combining Economically, Socially and Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture

The aim of this project is to bring together social and natural scientists in order to understand the social, economic and political factors underlying farming practice and how biodiversity responds to farming practice.

Economic models will be used to understand how farmers should behave if they were to maximise profits. Using interviews with farmers, we will then determine why they deviate from these model predictions, and why farmers vary in the way they manage their farms. The variation in management between farms is known to be an important determinant of biodiversity and one of our key objectives is to understand the basis for this.

Ecological models will be used to predict how weed and bird populations will respond to changes in management practices. To develop these game theory models we will use long-term data available from the British Trust for Ornithology, together with detailed botanical farm surveys.

This model will be used to answer a range of policy questions such as:

  • What would be the best policy measures to achieve the targets on bird populations set by the government?
  • What determines which new farming methods and agri-environment schemes will be adopted by farmers?
  • What will be the social and economic consequences of biodiversity conservation?
  • Outputs (4)