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Research Impact Highlight - Results-based Payments

Results-based payments provide farmers with performance-related payments for delivering agreed environmental objectives. For example, higher payments are made for protection of indicator species, for improved habitat quality, soil health and water quality. Researcher John Finn tells more

Teagasc has been involved in multiple projects that have trialled the implementation of results-based payments:BurrenLIFE, which led to the Burren Programme; KerryLIFE; AranLIFE; and, the RBAPS project (Developing Results Based Agri-environmental Payment Schemes in Ireland and Spain). Across Europe, policymakers and practitioners are looking to Ireland as a leader in this area, and at these projects and programmes as examples of how results-based approaches can be developed and implemented. Lessons from these projects have informed the design of ambitious results-based European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) that include the Hen Harrier Project, the Pearl Mussel Project, the BRIDE project, and others.

These lessons centred on:

  • the necessity for combining the specialist skills of farmers, ecologists, advisors and project managers;
  • the need to identify relevant specific objectives and indicators that help to best target efforts;
  • the important role of advisory support with biodiversity expertise to engage with participant farmers;
  • good practice in the development of scoring schemes;
  • innovative approaches to link scores to payments;
  • different hybrid approaches that combine action-based payments, results-based payments and non-productive investments; and,
  • an ability to rapidly measure progress towards the biodiversity targets, and either confirm progress or learn how to improve.

JFA book published recently by Teagasc and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) highlights several Irish case studies of results-based payments for biodiversity conservation. It provides details on farm plans, scoring sheets, governance mechanisms, the role of advisory services, the choice of indicators, monitoring details, and explores the relationship between results and payment.

Access the book here