Policy design for ecosystem services


Jeroen Groot (FSE Wageningen UR)
Walter Rossing (FSE Wageningen UR)
Carlos Parra (IFAPA, Granada Spain)


Farm design can be used to identify desirable changes to farm management to strengthen particular ecosystem services, of which some depend on processes at larger spatial scales. Examples of such services are biological crop protection, biodiversity conservation and maintaining landscape identity. The required policies to persuade farmers to adjust their management depend on the difference in performance of ecosystem services between the current and the desired situation. Often coordinated action between farmers at regional scale is necessary to meet the demands. Moreover, organization and coordination at regional level can reduce the transaction costs for the implementation of policies (for example agri-environmental schemes).


  • Analyze the link between farm design and policy instrument identification


  • Determining the social demands for ecosystem services in a case study area by interviews and literature study
  • Generating of alternative farm layouts using design methodologies
  • Applying policy definition frameworks and tools
  • Determining social and institutional implications of selected policies

Experiences gained

  • Preparation of a detailed proposal
  • Interviewing farmers and other relevant stakeholders
  • Working in a case study region in Spain, Mexico, Uruguay, or the Netherlands
  • Learning how to make and run models, and how to analyze the outcomes
  • Developing and/or applying bio-economic models and policy frameworks
  • Writing an MSc thesis (and preferably a manuscript for a journal) in English