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European livestock policy evaluation network: Development of a livestock policy decision support system

There is an increasing demand from policy makers in the livestock area to be able to assess, in an integrated way, the economic, environmental and social impact of potential policy changes. The purpose of this project was to build a state-of-the-art integrative, knowledge-based, spatially explicit decision support system to appraise the likely impact of policy change on the livestock sector. The system integrates biogeographic data (on soils, climate, topography, land cover, etc.) with statistical data and other information on technical, economic, environmental and social aspects of livestock systems. It incorporates expert knowledge and displays integrated, indicative results of the economic, environmental and social impacts of policy change.

The overall objective of the project was to build a decision support system for the appraisal and evaluation of European livestock policy. The system is integrative, client-orientated, knowledge-based, spatially explicit and capable of assessing potential economic, environmental and social impacts.

This was achieved through the following:
1) A dynamic, knowledge-based decision support system was built, capable of answering specific questions posed by policy makers about the economic, environmental and social impacts of policy related to livestock.
2) A network of experts from different EU countries specialising in knowledge on different aspects of livestock systems was developed. This provided the knowledge needed to build the system and was used to organise communication between them.
3) Biogeographic, technical, economic, environmental and social data was used on livestock systems throughout the EU.
4) Policy makers (the end-users of the system) were involved in the design of the system.
5) Interaction was promoted between policy makers and researchers.

Progress to Date
The project has been completed and the elpen decision support system built. The system is freely available to the general public and can be downloaded by following the links from the project website.

The following results have been achieved:
Database of livestock experts
Elpen knowledge system
Elpen EU statistical and spatial database
Elpen farm typologies
Farm typology profiles
European reference farm database
Methodology for spatial disaggregation of spatial data
Economic model for impacts of milk price reduction
Assessment model for social decision making in agriculture
Environmental impact assessment model
Nitrogen leaching sensitivity model
DMS planning support software
Methodology for assessing EU regional dependency on dairy sector.


Scientist responsible for the project

AB15 8QH Aberdeen
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1224 318611
Fax: +44 1224 311556


Project ID QLRT-1999-01296
Organisation Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
Area 5.4
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 38
Total cost 3 576 306 €
Total EC contribution   2 193 370 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

The partners

  • Danish Research Institute for Park and Landscape, Denmark - DK

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