Collaboration or fragmentation? Biodiversity management through the common agricultural policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We argue that the current system of agri-environment management in the European Common Agricultural Policy is ineffective at conserving biodiversity in part because it promotes fragmentation instead of collaboration of actors, thus hindering coordinated biodiversity management. Actor fragmentation is reinforced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in three ways: (1) through targeting individual farmers; (2) by creating confusion around coordination roles for increasing numbers of actors; and (3) by failing to engage with barriers to collaboration among farmers. Our findings draw on empirical evidence collected through multi-stakeholder workshops in Germany and Sweden. Our argument adds a different dimension to accepted explanations for the ineffectiveness of CAP for biodiversity management. Traditionally, explanations have focussed on low levels of farmer uptake of relevant measures, or the lack of ecological knowledge informing such measures. The level of actor fragmentation identified here suggests that a fundamental rethink of farmland biodiversity management is needed. We propose a new research agenda to identify more effective governance approaches.


  • Julia Leventon
  • Tamara Schaal
  • Sarah Velten
  • Juliana Dänhardt
  • Joern Fischer
  • David J. Abson
  • Jens Newig
External organisations
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
  • Ecology


  • Agri-environment schemes, Conservation, Ecosystem services, European Union, Social network analysis, Social-ecological systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Henrik Smith, Juliana Dänhardt, David Kleijn, Felix Schläpfer, Amanda Sahrbacher, Jens Newig, Adrien Rusch, Riccardo Bommarco, Manuel Plantegenest, Ullrika Sahlin & Mark Brady

FORMAS, a Swedish research council for sustainable development


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

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