Developing social indicators for the monitoring and evaluation of Agri-environment Schemes

Between 2019 and 2020 a team at CCRI worked with Natural England to develop a set of social indicators that can be used to monitor and evaluate agri-environment schemes.   Whilst much work has been done on environmental indicators to measure the success (or not) of agri-environment schemes, to date less attention has focused on the social factors which affect the quality of land managers’ engagement with schemes and the social outcomes. It is important to gain a better understanding of these engagement factors and social outcomes as there is increasing evidence that they have important impacts on environmental outcomes and, in particular, the agreement holder’s willingness to undertake environmental activities in the longer-term.

To address this gap a team at CCRI led by Jane Mills and involving Pete Gaskell, Hannah Chiswell, George Cusworth and Paul Courtney, along with University of Exeter, have developed a robust set of social indicators.  The project involved:

  • Developing a list of key, testable, social indicators, based on an extensive literature review, which have potential for evaluating the quality of farmer engagement and the social outcomes and social sustainability of agreements.
  • Identifying a method that can be applied to monitor and evaluate these social indicators
  • Testing the proposed method in ‘the field’ on farms with existing agri-environment scheme agreement holders

The project is now completed and the reports from project are available on the University of Gloucestershire’s Research Repository: