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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13856-13886; doi:10.3390/su71013856

How Local Intermediaries Improve the Effectiveness of Public Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: The Role of Networks and Agri-Environmental Assistance

Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V., Institute of Socio-Economics, Eberswalder Str. 84, 15374 Muencheberg, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 1 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract

Large governmental payments for ecosystem services programs (PES) have frequently been criticized for their limited environmental effectiveness. The use of local intermediaries has been considered as one possibility for improving the environmental effectiveness of such programs. German Landcare Associations (LCAs) have been identified as one intermediary that holds the potential to positively influence the implementation of agri-environmental measures (AEMs). This paper empirically assesses the involvement of LCAs in the context of AEM implementation in Germany. An online questionnaire was distributed to all LCAs in Germany. In a first step, we examine if LCAs (1) provide social networks between stakeholders and (2) provide agri-environmental information and assistance to farmers. In a second step, the LCAs assess (3) their perception of how strongly their work influences farmers’ participation in PES schemes and (4) if they pursue the spatial targeting of AEMs. In a third step, we relate the relative level of social networks and the provision of agri-environmental information and assistance to their stated influence on farmers’ participation in and spatial targeting of AEMs. Finally we derive overall conclusions on how intermediaries can enhance the effectiveness of PES programs in general. View Full-Text
Keywords: agri-environment measures; land use conflict and governance; social capital; local embeddedness; payments for environmental services agri-environment measures; land use conflict and governance; social capital; local embeddedness; payments for environmental services
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schomers, S.; Matzdorf, B.; Meyer, C.; Sattler, C. How Local Intermediaries Improve the Effectiveness of Public Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: The Role of Networks and Agri-Environmental Assistance. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13856-13886.

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