The cost-effectiveness of biodiversity management : comparing rural land uses in extensively farmed areas of Scotland
The cost-effectiveness of biodiversity management is compared between different farm types and between farms and non-farms in the context of the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme in Scotland. In addition, attitudes to conservation are compared and the uptake to the scheme analysed. Cost-effectiveness ratios are based on measures of biodiversity and cost management (of heather, herb-rich grassland and wetland). Biodiversity was measured at the plot and surrounding level. Cost was measured as public exchequer and private cost. Cost-effectiveness differentials are found between farm types and non-farms. Non-farms are more cost-effective managers of both heather and herb-rich grassland compared to Specialist Beef (LFA) farms. Among farms alone, no single farm type emerges as consistently more cost-effective across all habitats. With respect to biodiversity findings at the plot-level, non-farms have the highest heather biodiversity score, Mixed farms the highest wetland score and Specialist Beef (LFA) farms the highest herb-rich grassland score. With respect to public exchequer capital costs, Specialist Sheep (LFA) farms had the lowest cost for all habitants. With regard to private conservation outlays, non-farms are the least cost managers of herb-rich grassland. Few opportunity costs in habitat management are found at all, among farms or non-farms. Non-farmers are found to express a greater interest in conservation compared to farmers. A positive to conservation among farmers and non-farmers was found to be positively correlated with habitat quality in the case of heather management. In the uptake analysis, a positive conservation attitude was found to accelerate entry to the ESA scheme. Other generic factors were found to be important in explaining the entry decision. Non-entrants were less aware of and less informed about the scheme than entrants. The probability of entry was increased where the scheme prescription fitted the farm situation and the costs of compliance were low. The duration analysis suggested two factors accelerating scheme entry, besides an interest in conservation: more adequate information and more extensive systems.