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WP5 – Governance challenges

Governance challenges to encourage landscape-scale uptake of appropriate management actions

To date, relatively little attention has been paid to the complex multi-level governance system under which European farmers operate. New insights are required on how and why farmers choose to adopt specific management actions, and this is important for two reasons. Farmers are not simply “economically rational” actors, but influenced by a wide range of factors when they decide how to manage their farms, and the financial resources allocated to improving the sustainability of European farming landscapes could be spent in a wide range of different ways. While payments for ecosystem services have received major attention in the recent past, other policy instruments exist which may be required in addition to or instead of such payments. For example, farmers may require better access to information, could benefit from peer networks, or might respond most effectively to more stringent environmental regulations.

In WP5, we will analyse governance challenges across multiple spatial scales, and in different parts of Europe. We will conduct empirical case studies in three European countries covering a land-use intensity gradient. A first step in each case study will be to characterize the nature of the farming sector, including its actors and institutions. Based on the information attained, Social Network Analysis will be used to examine horizontal and vertical relations among actors.

Having obtained a thorough overview of who is involved in the governance of landscapes in contrasting settings in Europe, we will specifically examine barriers to and opportunities for more sustainable management of rural landscapes (as modelled in WP3). This will involve qualitative interviews with representatives of governmental bodies, farmer organizations and individual landholders as well as quantitative surveys targeting a larger number of farmers.

Results from the first round of workshops, held in October 2014, are available in an information pack.

Information pack (pdf, 9.8 MB, new tab)


  • Assess the multi-level governance system under which European farmers operate
  • Assess the governance institutions currently at work, including collaborative networks
  • Assess qualitatively and quantitatively how and why farmers choose to adopt specific management actions at farm and landscape scale, including barriers to coordinating management actions
  • Assess the potential of governance innovations to promote multi-functional agriculture and encourage landscape-scale uptake of appropriate management actions

WP5 leader

Jens Newig
Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
newig [at] uni [dot] leuphana [dot] de


Yorkshire landscape. Photo.
Photo: Julia Leventon