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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

Title: Payment for Agrobiodiversity Conservation Services project

Objective: Assess the potential for payment for agrobiodiversity conservation services (PACS) schemes to create incentives for the conservation of agrobiodiversity and improve indigenous farmer livelihoods.

Description: The project assesses the ability of “payment for agrobiodiversity conservation services” (PACS) schemes to permit the “capture” of public conservation values at the farmer level, thereby creating incentives for the conservation of agrobiodiversity and supporting poverty alleviation.

Duration: 2009-2011

Sponsor: Bioversity International

Collaborators: Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California at Berkeley, USA; Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Research (Centro de Investigación de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente), Peru; M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, India; Bioversity International.

Contact name: Dr Unai Pascual (


Title: Agrobiodiversity, Livelihood Diversification and Food Security in Drought-Prone Environments

Objective: Research focuses on the complex links between agrobiodiversity conservation, livelihood diversification and food security in Eastern Ethiopia

Description: Poor farm households in developing countries often face variable agricultural incomes with regard to climatic risks, like rainfall shocks. In areas where credit and insurance markets are missing the diversification of income portfolios is often the only means to ensure consumption smoothing. Livelihood diversification strategies consist in using different varieties of the same main crop, cultivating different crops, holding livestock and being engaged in non-farm activities. This project aims at disentangling the links between such diversification decisions by vulnerable poor households facing high levels of risk to draughts in Ethiopia.

Duration: Oct 2007 - Nov 2008

Sponsor: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO)

Contact name: Unai Pascual (

Title: Centre for Law & Economics for Environment and Development (C-LEED)

Objective: Research network focusing on the analysis of institutional reforms in developing countries.

Description: The Centre for Law & Economics for Environment and Development (C-LEED) is a network of academic institutions focused on the analysis of institutional reforms in developing countries. The group has undertaken work on issues related to land use reforms (China), water policy evaluation (Namibia), conservation policy effectiveness (Kenya), agricultural diversity (Hungary) and many other resource-related problems. It combines the disciplines of law and economics in undertaking programme evaluations and policy analysis. C-LEED consists of a collaboration between the following UK academic institutions:

  • Department of Economics and School of Law - University College London.
  • Department of Economics - School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Department of Land Economy - University of Cambridge.
  • Development Studies Institute - London School of Economics.

Contact name: Dr. Andreas Kontoleon (


Title: An integrated analysis of scale effects in alternative agricultural systems

Objective: Assess how the ecological, hydrological, socio-economic and cultural impacts of organic farming may vary due to the neighbourhood effects created by the presence of high and low concentrations of organic farms, at a variety of scales.

Project Description: Changing land cultivation from conventional to organic practices can have significant impacts on environmental factors such as wildlife, soil and water quality, as well as change the ways in which food is supplied, the economics of farm businesses and indeed the attitudes of farmers themselves. A factor that is little understood is how these depend on the scale and concentration of alternative farming systems across the landscape, from local up to the national scale. This project addresses two key questions: (1) what causes organic farms to be arranged in clusters at local, regional and national scales, rather than be spread more evenly throughout the landscape? And (2) assess how the ecological, hydrological, socio-economic and cultural impacts of organic farming may vary due to neighbourhood effects at a variety of scales. The project will undertake an intensive study of existing clustered and isolated organic farms, and their surrounding neighbourhoods, to address these questions. It will culminate in mapping out some alternative scenarios for future growth of the organic sector in the UK, and evaluate the potential positive and negative effects that different patterns of organic cultivation might have, at a variety of scales, in the future.

Duration: 2006-2009

Collaborators: University of Sussex (coordination), University of Leeds, University of Manchester, The Macaulay Institute, Institute of Organic Research, Cranfield University

Sponsor: RELU programme (ESRC, BBSRC and NERC)

Contact name: Dr. Unai Pascual (


Title: Biodiversity Economics for Conservation (BIOECON)

Objective: Network coordinated by our research group undertaking applied research on biodiversity.

Project Description: BIOECON is the largest group of academic economists in Europe working on the economics of biodiversity management. The network undertakes collaborative research on how economic instruments (property rights, contracts and trade mechanisms) can promote conservation of all forms of biodiversity (plant genetic resources, forest ecosystems, terrestrial and aquatic species, and invasive species). The group’s activities include large-scale collaborative research projects, annual conferences, and publication of policy volumes.

Duration: 2000 – ongoing

Collaborators: The Network consists of more than 40 economists and lawyers working in 12 different European academic institutions. Further, the network also includes experts from policy organisations including IUCN, IPGRI, and FEEM.

Sponsors: EU Commission, DIVERSITAS, DEFRA, OECD

Contact name: Dr. Andreas Kontoleon (

Project web-site:

Title: Farm Business Survey (East of England).

Objective: To assess the economics of farming in the East of England.

Project Description: The project consists of detailed annual surveys of nearly 400 farms in the East of England and South Lincolnshire, and related data analysis and dissemination. The study provides a picture of farm incomes at the level of individual enterprises, across the full range of farm types. The results are published in ‘Farming in the Eastern Counties of England’ and the data is used by DEFRA as well as the EU. It forms part of the EU-wide ‘Farm Accountancy Data Network’ (FADN). The Unit responsible for this study will also compile the FADN results for all Government Office Regions in England.

Duration: 1920’s onward - ongoing annually

Sponsor: DEFRA.

Collaborators: Consortium of (academic) Farm Business Survey Providers.

Contact name: Mr. Ben Lang (

Title: Rural Business Unit Consulting.

Objective: To provide consultancy services on rural economics to Government and Industry.

Project Description: The Rural Business Unit consults on topics as diverse as CAP reform to changes in agricultural land use for various clients. These reports provide policy advice to inform the UK position in EU negotiations (e.g., the recent ‘Mid-Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy’, and ‘Reform of the EU Sugar Regime’). Other studies have, for example, been on the economics of producing specific agricultural products, for example cereals, pigs or salads.

Duration: 1920’s - ongoing

Sponsor: DEFRA, Environment Agency, Home Grown Cereals Authority & others

Collaborators: Various (Royal Agricultural College, Scottish Agricultural College, University of Reading, University of Newcastle upon Tyne).

Contact name: Mr. Ben Lang (

Title: Sustainable Development and the Regulation of Water Utilities

Objective: To develop scenarios for an efficient and effective regulation for the water sector under criteria of Sustainable Development.

Project Description: The project consists of three phases. In Phase 1 (recently completed) we demonstrated the existence of internal inconsistencies in the current regulatory regime for water utilities, where the interaction among different regulators (European Union, Environment Agency and OFWAT) increases the risks faced by the regulated utilities. The main results of Part 1 are currently being disseminated to stakeholders, academia, regulators and the wider public. Phase 2 of the project aims to identify the core features of an effective and efficient implementation of SD objectives in the water sector through regulation. Phase 3 will address the issue of how to construct pathways towards improved regulation, identifying the areas of greatest gains. A final symposium will be held in order to discuss the main results and further promote the dissemination of this research to academia, industry, stakeholders and the general public.

Duration: 2003-2006

Sponsor: AWG/AWS

Contact name: Dr Gabriella Legrenzi ( )

Title: Reforestation Policies in China and Social Welfare.

Objective: To assess the sustainability of recent major reforestation policies in rural China.

Project Description: The project consists of a series of case-studies assessing the two largest reforestation policies in the world, currently under implementation in China. The project seeks to assess the environmental effectiveness, the economic efficiency as well as the long run sustainability of these polices. Particular emphasis will be placed on exploring their impact on local community welfare.

Duration: 2003-2005

Sponsor: China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

Collaborators: School of Environmental Sciences, University of Beijing, China.

Contact name: Dr. Andreas Kontoleon (


Title: Markets for Biodiversity Conservation

Objective: To evaluate the prospects of creating alternative markets for biodiversity conservation.

Duration: 2003-2004

Sponsor: OECD

Contact name: Dr. Andreas Kontoleon (

Title: Building Capacity to Investigate the Potential Role of Sustainable Agricultural Intensification in Agro-Ecological Systems

Objective: Explore the potential usefulness of alternative economic policies that could support sustainable agricultural intensification.

Project Description: The research explores the economic and ecological basis of the possibility that increasing agricultural intensification and output could be consistent with increasing biodiversity in highly intensified agricultural areas. Recognising that many of the activities supporting agro-biodiversity enhancement may not be under the control of a single decision maker, the research assesses coordination potential of various incentive payments mechanisms directed at the direct users of agricultural land.

Duration: 2004-2005

Collaborators: University of Manchester

Sponsor: ESRC, BBSRC and NERC

Contact name: Dr. Unai Pascual (

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