Farming for Nature: The Role of Results-Based Payments book jointly published by NPWS and Teagasc

Date Released: Monday, April 20, 2020

Farming for Nature: the role of results-based payments is an edited book that collates several Irish experiences of developing and applying results-based approaches for the conservation of farmland biodiversity. This book is intended for an international audience of practitioners, policymakers and academics interested in results-based approaches for the conservation of biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services.

Download the book in PDF format

The book, published by National Parks & Wildlife Service and Teagasc in 2020, brings together the experience and expertise of 17 contributors working in the agri-ecology space in Ireland, both in policy and in practice. It examines the experience with applying a results-based approach to Agri-Environment Schemes (AES), for which Ireland is seen as a leader on, and how this approach can be taken forward in future, both in Ireland and further afield.

The principal aim of the book is to document, present the findings of and lessons learnt from a collection of innovative case-studies of the best Irish locally led result-based agri-environment schemes to date. The book aims to drill down into the actual practicalities of designing and delivering result-based AES, within the larger framework of ‘farming for conservation’. The core of the book and its major contribution is the collection of case studies, which situate the farming systems and the local environmental assets, their level of priority and the threats they face. They provide sufficient detail to help others see how the general principles of a Locally Led Results-based Approach (LLRBA) were implemented in the case study areas: for example, by providing actual farm plans and scoring sheets, as well as detailing governance mechanisms, the role of advisory services, the choice of indicators, monitoring details and the relationship between results and payment. While acknowledging the specificity of place, the case-studies have wider applicability, especially within the European Union that shares a common model of agriculture and a common policy framework. We also acknowledge that the results are not confined solely to ecological parameters, because in the delivery of LLRBA and nature friendly farming, one needs to build links between farming systems and the social and economic lives of the communities embedded in these places. Much of European biodiversity and its cultural landscapes require active management. 

The book is intended for an international audience of agri-environmental practitioners; however, it is not a handbook or instruction manual. For example, it could be used by an NGO to support evidence for the feasibility of a locally led result-based approach; read by a policymaker to demonstrate examples and case studies; and used as a working example to assist a practitioner in their own efforts to design a new LLRBA. The introductory chapter (Chapter 2), provides a critique of EU agri-environment policy and the closing chapters (Chapters 8 and 9) also consider the policy context and reflect on lessons learnt and where we go from here. Thus, they position the case studies within a larger academic and policy context.

The book has clear research and policy relevance in the area of agriculture, environment, sustainability and rural development. It is born out of close collaboration between practitioners and academics. 


The full book runs to over 300 pages. A synopsis including chapter-by-chapter downloads is also available.