Agri-environmental measures (AEMs) are meant to foster environmentally-friendly farming techniques. The use of AEMs to enhance agroecosystem quality is still under debate due to site-specific spatial mismatches that often occur between adopted AEMs and delivered ecosystem services. Here, a site-specific approach was employed to assess the advantages and disadvantages of AEMs adopted from the Rural Development Programme and applied in the Veneto Region (NE Italy) during 2014–2020. Specifically, a DayCent model-GIS platform compared business-as-usual (BAU) and AEM scenarios. The effect of AEMs on ecosystem services was assessed by integrating high-resolution spatial data from multiple pedo-climates and land managements and combined agronomic and environmental outcomes. Results showed that AEM adoption generally improved ecosystem service delivery, especially by reducing water pollution and increasing soil fertility. Among simulated practices, permanent soil cover and minimum soil disturbance (i.e., conservation agriculture, pasture and meadow maintenance) produced the best results across the Veneto Region, despite compromises in agronomic performance due to AEM-specific commitments (e.g., narrow crop rotation in conservation agriculture, fertilizer use restrictions in pastures and meadows). Other AEMs (e.g., organic farming) appeared highly dependent on their spatial distribution and were influenced by a strong interaction between pedo-climatic characteristics (e.g., soil properties) and management techniques (e.g., type and quantity of nutrients input). The spatial-target approach is highly recommended to identify AEMs that achieve environmental quality objectives and develop indications as to where they should be encouraged to maximize ecosystem services delivery.

Trade-offs among ecosystem services advance the case for improved spatial targeting of agri-environmental measures

Longo M.;Dal Ferro N.
;
Morari F.
2021

Abstract

Agri-environmental measures (AEMs) are meant to foster environmentally-friendly farming techniques. The use of AEMs to enhance agroecosystem quality is still under debate due to site-specific spatial mismatches that often occur between adopted AEMs and delivered ecosystem services. Here, a site-specific approach was employed to assess the advantages and disadvantages of AEMs adopted from the Rural Development Programme and applied in the Veneto Region (NE Italy) during 2014–2020. Specifically, a DayCent model-GIS platform compared business-as-usual (BAU) and AEM scenarios. The effect of AEMs on ecosystem services was assessed by integrating high-resolution spatial data from multiple pedo-climates and land managements and combined agronomic and environmental outcomes. Results showed that AEM adoption generally improved ecosystem service delivery, especially by reducing water pollution and increasing soil fertility. Among simulated practices, permanent soil cover and minimum soil disturbance (i.e., conservation agriculture, pasture and meadow maintenance) produced the best results across the Veneto Region, despite compromises in agronomic performance due to AEM-specific commitments (e.g., narrow crop rotation in conservation agriculture, fertilizer use restrictions in pastures and meadows). Other AEMs (e.g., organic farming) appeared highly dependent on their spatial distribution and were influenced by a strong interaction between pedo-climatic characteristics (e.g., soil properties) and management techniques (e.g., type and quantity of nutrients input). The spatial-target approach is highly recommended to identify AEMs that achieve environmental quality objectives and develop indications as to where they should be encouraged to maximize ecosystem services delivery.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3398052
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