Applying a social-ecological approach to enhancing provision of public goods through agriculture and forestry activities across the European Union
Public goods provided by different land management practices in European regions have increasingly attained attention in agricultural policy debates. By focusing on the social-ecological systems (SES) framework, the systemic interrelations (e.g. drivers, resources, actors, governance regimes and policy impact) in land management across several case studies in various topographical and climatic conditions across ten European Union Member States are provided. The analysis of agricultural and forestry systems reveals a wide range of factors that drive the provision of ‘ecologically and socially beneficial outcomes’ (ESBOs). The respective influencing aspects cannot be reduced to market forces and policy support, but have to address simultaneously the pivotal role of social, cultural and institutional drivers as well. In particular, the tight interplay between public policies and private initiatives, and market mechanisms and societal appreciation of public goods delivery have shown to be the indispensable clue for understanding the relationship shaping the level of provision of public goods. Comparative analyses support the strong reliance on context, history, types of regions and differentiation of management systems which might be used for recommendations in the current debate on the future Common Agricultural Policy.