CAP4GI: Improving Green infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystem services in Common Agricultural Policy


The agriculture industry faces a multitude of challenges. It must both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve animal welfare. And yet, adaptation to climate change must not endanger the income security of farmers.

The decline in biological diversity in the agricultural sector continues unchecked, largely due to the deterioration or disappearance of habitats inside and outside agricultural land. Overall, the sector lacks even a minimum of so-called Green Infrastructure (GI). These are landscape elements with a high level of biological diversity, e.g. hedges, fallow land, small bodies of water and field strips.

In the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the most important funding instrument for influencing the design of the agricultural landscape. At around 336 billion euros, it accounts for almost a third of the entire EU budget for 2021-2027. At the same time, payments from the CAP represent a significant proportion of farm income. These facts highlight the leverage that a more biodiversity-friendly CAP could have.

While the outcome of the current CAP reform is viewed critically by science and environmental organisations, there is also an opportunity to further improve its positive elements (e.g. agri-environmental measures) – especially considering that they will continue to gain in importance in the future. On the one hand, ecological control at the landscape or ecosystem level must improve. On the other, it is important to design funding to effectively address and help overcome implementation barriers on the part of farmers.

As part of the research initiative for the preservation of biodiversity (FEdA) of the Federal Ministry of Education Research (BMBF), the CAP4GI project aims to identify ways to improve the ecological effectiveness of agricultural action. Particular attention is paid to adjusting mechanisms that enable transfer to different socio-economic situations.

adelphi will examine alternative scenarios with the help of various simulation analyses. The research approach combines so-called discrete choice experiments, individual farm analyses as well as individual and agent-based models. The scientific work takes place in close cooperation with practice partners and farmers in Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg.