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Impact on land use

Figure 12.3 shows the impacts on land use in terms of the resulting areas of set-aside, GAEC and Abandoned land for the three scenarios, relative to the total agricultural area in 2004. In focus here is the area of land abandoned under BOND (theoretically, no land should be abandoned in REFORM due to the GAEC obligation). To begin with, note that under BOND only a very small area is abandoned in Vysocina and nothing in Marche, despite relatively large areas of minimum GAEC appearing in REFORM. This is because the areas of GAEC shown in Figure 12.3 mirror, approximately, the historical areas of obligatory set-aside that still needed to be maintained at the time of the 2003 reform, rather than representing voluntary idling of land by farm agents (NB: this requirement was recently waivered by the European Union in response to, at the time, rising global food prices). Consequently, the set-aside/GAEC areas in these regions are used for commodity production when farm agents are given full freedom to choose land use under BOND.

Land abandonment of sharply varying degree is shown to occur in the other regions. The most substantial effects, as expected, occur in the extensive regions of Jonkoping and Vasterbotten. It may be somewhat surprising that the area abandoned is much larger in these regions than the area of GAEC since, theoretically, the GAEC area reflects the area of land not profitable to farm at market prices alone. This occurs in the model because the Swedish GAEC obligation requires semi-natural grassland to be grazed by ruminants (a relatively costly obligation that mimics agri-environmental schemes), but which is eliminated in the BOND scenario. Thus, this result reflects the stringency of the Swedish requirements rather than the profitability of commodity production itself after the 2003 reform. In Calabria, a relatively small area related to olives is abandoned because continued production was the least-cost way of meeting the GAEC obligation for this land. For impacts of BOND on land use in some of the other regions modelled in IDEMA (i.e. Brittany, Hohenlohe, Saxony, South-east United Kingdom), see the paper by Brady (2010) in these proceedings.

Figure 12.3. Area of set-aside, GAEC or abandoned land in 2013, relative to total agricultural area in 2004

Source: Brady et al. (2009).

 
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