Environmental Evaluation of Agri-Environment Schemes using Participatory Approaches: Experiences of Testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index

Alice L. Mauchline, Simon R. Mortimer, Julian R. Park, John A. Finn, Karen Haysom, Duncan B. Westbury, Gordon Purvis, Geertrui Louwagie, Greg Northey, Jørgen Primdahl, Henrik Vejre, Lone Søderkvist Kristensen, Kasper Teilmann, Jens Peter Vesterager, Karlheinz Knickel, Nadia Kasperczyk, Katalin Balázs, Lázló Podmaniczky, George Vlahos, Stamatios ChristopoulosLaura Kröger, Anja Yli-Viikari

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The Agri-Environment Footprint Index (AFI) has been developed as a generic methodology to assess changes in the overall environmental impacts from agriculture at the farm level and to assist in the evaluation of European agri-environmental schemes (AES). The methodology is based on multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and involves stakeholder participation to provide a locally customised evaluation based on weighted environmental indicators. The methodology was subjected to a feasibility assessment in a series of case studies across the EU. The AFI approach was able to measure significant differences in environmental status between farms that participated in an AES and non-participants. Wider environmental concerns, beyond the scheme objectives, were also considered in some case studies and the benefits for identification of unintentional (and often beneficial) impacts of AESs are presented. The participatory approach to AES evaluation proved efficient in different environments and administrative contexts. The approach proved to be appropriate for environmental evaluation of complex agri-environment systems and can complement any evaluation conducted under the Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. The applicability of the AFI in routine monitoring of AES impacts and in providing feedback to improve policy design is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Evaluation
  • Policy Assessment
  • Agri-Environment Scheme
  • Multi-Criteria Analysis
  • Agriculture
  • Participatory approach

Cite this