Evaluation of a dairy agri-environmental programme for restoring woody green infrastructure
McWilliam, Wendy; Fukuda, Yuki; Moller, Henrik; Smith, Des
Pastoral landscape woody vegetation provides ecosystem services, but potentially competes for space, light and nutrients that could provide additional farm production. A questionnaire determined the values and behaviours of New Zealand dairy farmers to evaluate voluntary agri-environmental programmes for restoring woody vegetation. Findings indicate the area is increasing, while the composition and configuration of networks are changing and redistributing. Farms with little are losing more, and those with more are gaining. Farmers are planting new areas to increase their public ecosystem services, but may not provide these services through planting and management. Barriers include insufficient private woody vegetation ecosystem services, and low rates of growth of native plants. Government incentive programmes are ineffective in overcoming barriers. Farmers may be motivated by stronger evidence of valued ecosystem services, information about their benefits and drawbacks and how to support services through planting and management. However, a targeted environmental stewardship scheme is required to overcome barriers to planting, with government and the dairy industry working together to develop and maintain a landscape-scaled woody vegetation network on private and public land. Such networks would build sustainability and resilience into dairy farming, leading to an equitably sharing of benefits and costs of their public ecosystem services.
Publisher: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 1473-5903 (Print); 1747-762X (Online)
Keywords: Multifunctional agriculture, ecosystem services, woody vegetation green infrastructure, intensive pastoral dairy farming, voluntary agri-environmental programmes
Research Type: Journal Article