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Impacts on landscape mosaic

The modelled impacts of decoupling on landscape mosaic are summarized in Figure 12.4 as measured by Shannon’s Diversity Index (SDI). Each column in Figure 12.4 shows the change in mosaic compared to the observed situation in 2004. A negative value indicates that mosaic has deteriorated (i.e. become more homogenous), which is most pronounced for all scenarios in Jonkoping and Vasterbotten. In these extensive regions, REFORM lead to a significant reduction in the area of grain and grass- fodder, yet the GAEC condition ensured that land was not abandoned, and hence avoided the larger deteriorations in mosaic occurring under BOND. Nevertheless, mosaic deteriorates compared to AGENDA because managing land according to minimum GAEC results in an increase in the area of the dominant land use, grass. In this sense, the SPS provides an incentive to homogenize the landscape in extensive regions. Mosaic declined less in Vasterbotten compared to Jonkoping because national milk support is sufficient to maintain land in production.

In regions where cultivation of crops remains largely profitable after decoupling in the REFORM and BOND scenarios (Czech and Italian regions), the potential impact on mosaic is not obvious but depended on the specific changes in the regional crop mix that occurred as a result of decoupling (i.e. the particular substitution effects between common and less common crops). Mosaic improves in Vysocina as a result of REFORM (i.e. accession) because the area of grain - the dominating crop type in 2004 - declined, and the area of less common fodder crops increased, due to an increase in the relative profitability of intensive beef production. Mosaic improved further under the BOND scenario due to increased crop diversification. On the other hand, AGENDA (i.e. preaccession) resulted in a slightly larger area of grain and hence reduced mosaic.

In the Mediterranean regions, REFORM results in fairly small but opposite effects on mosaic due to region-specific changes in the crop mix. The BOND scenario causes a somewhat larger reduction in mosaic in Marche due to reductions in the areas of durum wheat, sugar beet, sunflower and silage crops, and in Calabria due to reductions in soft wheat and olives. This implies that continued production of these crops was the most cost-effective way to fulfil the regional GAEC requirements. Overall, the effect of the GAEC obligation on mosaic in Vysocina and the Mediterranean regions is fairly small since market prices are sufficient to maintain most land in commodity production: hence the GAEC obligation was shown to be redundant in these regions for maintaining landscape. Instead, some substitution between crops occurs, the effects of which are crop- and region-specific.

Figure 12.4. Change in landscape mosaic in 2013 compared to 2004 Shannon's Index

Source: Brady et al. (2009).

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