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Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry
“Putting together a toolbox that will help policy-makers to produce better agri-environmental schemes.”

The problem

Agri-environmental schemes (AES) are designed and implemented to reflect agricultural and environmental diversity – and institutional differences – across Europe. However, they need to address growing criticism of their environmental effectiveness by formulating appropriate objectives, improved scheme design and better monitoring. To gain a clearer understanding of how AES work, a number of issues surrounding them need revisiting: the behaviour of farmers, institutional arrangements and the environmental ramifications of the schemes.

ITAES  Pooling knowledge to support farming and the environment


ITAES seeks to enhance the available AES toolbox. The project will:

  • Examine how institutional and contractual arrangements influence farmers’ uptake of AES by comparing several case studies
  • Model and analyse how farmers react to different types of schemes
  • Integrate all the available information into a common framework.

To create this, two instruments will be developed:

  • An integrated tool to analyse the interaction between institutional processes and environmental outcomes
  • A tool to analyse and simulate farmers’ interaction with AES

Contribution to policy development:

  • National design and implementation of AES in the context of rural development policy may benefit from the results of this project
  • Although the project is being developed at regional level, it may have a wider influence on European policy-making as regards, for instance, the formulation of payment methods to farmers
  • Project outcomes may also lead to future research in areas such as ecological taxation, evaluation of AES and cross-compliance

Project deliverables

  • Methodologies for assessing environmental impacts, analysing private transaction costs, and farmers’ preferences and behaviours – October 2004
  • Database and country reports based on a survey of farmers – July 2005
  • Report on simulation results – January 2006
  • ITAES protocol and recommendations based on project results – January 2007


  • Progress and results in scientific publications – Ongoing
  • Update ITAES website – Ongoing
  • Summary report for stakeholders and policy-makers – July 2006
  • Two workshops: one for EU rural development officials (2005) and another for international organisations (2006)

Technical information

Project acronym: ITAES
Project’s official full title: Integrated tools to design and implement agri-environmental schemes
Research priority: 1.2. Tools and assessment methods for sustainable agriculture and forestry management
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 502070
Start date: 01/01/04
Kick off meeting: 05/02/04
Completion date: 31/12/06
European Commission scientific officer: Lucas Janssen (

Name: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Abbreviated Name: INRA-ESR
Address: 4 Allee Adolphe Bobierre, CS 61103, 35011 Rennes
Country: France
Tel: +33 2 23 48 53 01
Fax: +33 2 23 48 53 00


Name: Wageningen University
Abbreviated Name: WU
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Ghent University
Abbreviated Name: UGENT
Country: Belgium

Name: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Abbreviated Name: UNEW
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Humboldt University Berlin
Abbreviated Name: HUB
Country: Germany

Name: Centre for Environmental Accounting and Management in Agriculture and Forestry, Padua University
Country: Italy

Name: Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Abbreviated Name: TEAGASC
Country: Ireland

Name: MTT Agri-food Research
Abbreviated Name: MTT
Country: Finland

Name: VUZE-Research Institute for Agricultural Economics
Abbreviated Name: VUZE
Country: Czech Republic